CHAMPION Gordon Shedden admits he will have a “target on his back” as he prepares to defend his British Touring Car crown.

But the Dalgety Bay race ace is confident he has the right car to help him enjoy a flying start to the 2016 season and become a triple championship winner.

‘Flash’ claimed his second title in three years in October when he sensationally snatched the coveted trophy by charging through the field to claim fourth place in the final race, which was enough to see him top the podium.

The new season gets underway this weekend at Brands Hatch and, speaking to Press Sport at his Knockhill base, Shedden said: “It’s great to go in as reigning champion but I went to the Autosport Show in January in Birmingham, and somebody said to me ‘how does it feel to be last year’s champion?’, and I thought God, we’re only in week two of January and that’s the honeymoon period over. It makes the winter a bit more palatable when things go to plan, but you can’t relax; you’re looking for things to improve the car by a 100th of a second that will make the difference really.

“I expect to have a target on my back for a little bit and, although it is very hard to get back to back championships, it is doable. At the minute we’re the ones to beat, so the challenge is there and we’ll see who rises to it. We set the bar pretty high last year and everyone wants to beat us, so that makes it even tougher because it means it’s like us against the rest.

“I would say already that, even though we’re very early in this development phase, I think we have a car that is even quicker than last year, and that’s brilliant to have. We’re moving in the right direction; we tested last Wednesday at Brands Hatch and had a really good day, so we come into the first round this weekend with our tails up and see where we stack up.”

Shedden’s Honda Yuasa team have provided a new car for this year’s championship, and the defending champ continued: “It feels very different to drive and reacts in a different way. It would’ve been nice to keep last year’s car because I knew everything it did, so it’s a bit of a trip into the unknown. It’s the same for everyone though and that’s just what we’ve got to get on with and make the best of it. I think though we’re in a good place and I’m happy to start as we are.

“Last year’s championship was really tough. But that’s sport.”