Synchro Motorsport launch Driver Academy
Alyn James, Team Principal and Driver for Synchro Motorsport, brings you the latest developments from the Swindon factory's race team.
I joined Honda of the UK Manufacturing's voluntary race team on my first day at Honda back in 2001 and have loved every second of it since. As Team Principal, I have witnessed some of the greatest achievements in the team’s history, but feel even more privileged to be able to play a part in forging its future by launching a new driver academy and appointing the inaugural driver.
We previously ran an academy in 2011, where I cut my teeth as a driver and learnt my trade under the tuition of Dave Allan.
With the dust settling on yet another successful season, I caught up with the newly appointed Synchro Motorsport Academy Driver, Steve Davey from Vehicle Quality.
Q./ Where did your passion for motorsport begin?
A./ I attended my first race at just three-months old, when my dad took me to the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, but my earliest memory is playing scalextric at the age of five. Even then, I knew that I wanted to get behind the wheel of a race car. My dad had always been involved with racing and regularly volunteered as a scrutineer and marshal.
Whilst growing up, I continued to follow Formula 1 and Ayrton Senna was an idol of mine, especially during his time with McLaren-Honda.
Q./ At what age did you first get behind the wheel?
A./ I got my first taste of driving at eleven years old. My dad let me drive his Ford Capri in the pits during a race-weekend at Brands Hatch. My first race however, wasn’t until I was 30.
Q./ Away from Synchro Motorsport, what other involvements have you had within motorsport?
A./ The majority of my racing career has been spent in hillclimbing. Over the years, I’ve developed and raced a number of cars including a couple of Swindon-built Hondas; a 1.6L FN2 Civic Sport and an Accord Type R.
I’ve also spent some time in karting. Call it coincidence, or perhaps something more, but I was assigned the number 76 for my karting season, which has been Synchro’s championship number.
Q./ What do you enjoy about racing in a Honda?
A./ Being a Honda associate, I always feel an additional sense of pride when taking the Honda cars out on to the track and I’ve had race wins in both the Civic and the Accord. After a successful outing in the Civic at Prescott, a couple approached me in the pits to congratulate me. They told me how they’d been looking for a new car and were torn between a Toyota Yaris or a Civic, but after seeing the Civic perform so well, their minds were made up – it had to be a Civic!
Q./ What made you join Synchro Motorsport?
A./ I’ve followed the team since I joined Honda in 1998, but due to family commitments and my own personal motorsport activities, I never had the time to be able to commit in the way I would want to. As soon as I had more time on my hands, I made the decision to apply to be part of the team and it’s been a brilliant part of my motorsport career.
Q./ What do you enjoy most about being part of the team?
A./ Above everything, I love being able to be an ambassador for the Honda brand. I live and breathe Honda! I even have an FN2 Civic Type R as my current road car.
The camaraderie within the team is second to none! It’s brilliant to be able to mix with associates from a variety of departments that you may not interact with in your day job. The level of professionalism in the way the team is ran and the development opportunities available, made it feel like a step up the motorsport ladder compared to my personal racing.
Q./ What has been your best experience with Synchro Motorsport?
A./ It would have to be winning the overall Creventic 24H Championship in 2017. At the start of the season we knew we’d be competitive within our class, but to outperform the entire grid was far beyond our wildest dreams. It felt brilliant to be part of the pit crew that was able to massively reduce our pit stop time and make us more competitive as a result.
Away from the track, being able to represent Synchro Motorsport at Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer was an unforgettable experience. It was amazing to work alongside the professional Honda race teams and see how much impact events like Goodwood have with the public.
Q./ Are you excited to get in the academy car and get the season underway?
A./ Most definitely! The first event of the year is at Prescott, which is where I first competed and has always felt like a home venue. I hope that I can replicate my previous successes here for Synchro.
Q./ What will you be looking forward to the most about the academy?
A./ I know first-hand how much pride goes in to the production of the Civic Type R at the factory and I’m excited to race it in its truest sense as a standard road car.
I’m also looking forward to developing my track knowledge as a driver and implementing that in to my mechanic role for the endurance race car throughout the season.
Q&A with Honda Touring Car Driver Matt Neal
During Synchro Motorsport’s victory at Spa Francorchamps, we caught up with Honda Touring Car Driver, Matt Neal.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Synchro Take Class Win at Spa Francorchamps
Synchro Motorsport claim ‘first in class’ at Creventic’s 12H Spa, securing them second place in the A3 Class Championship.
Monday, October 15, 2018
Why We Race
At Geneva International Motor Show 2018, Phillip Ross, Senior Vice President at Honda Motor Europe, discussed Honda’s heritage within motorsport and the reasons why we, as a company, continue to race.