Shepherd will join Homgaard Motorsport in a Volkswagen Golf GTI for a double drive with the team later this month.
He’ll debut with them in the Creventic run 24H Series Champion of the Continents at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain over 30 August−1 September. He’ll also race in the inaugural TCR SPA 500 on 4−6 October at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, a 500-lap race solely for TCR homologated cars.
Last weekend Shepherd drove the Track Tec Racing owned Audi RS 3 LMS, which is almost identical to the Volkswagen Golf GTI that he’ll at the end of the month.
The Audi RS 3 LMS he drove runs a six-sequential gearbox and the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 243 kW (330 hp) at 6,200 rpm.
Driving at Highlands Motorsport Park, Shepherd said the test was an eye opener given how quickly he could get acclimated.
“The car was surprisingly easy to drive,” Shepherd told velocitynews.co.nz.
“I think a lot of people could jump into a TCR car and get comfortable with it straight away. It has that feel to it and I guess that’s mainly due to the car being so well balanced. That in itself gave me a bit of confidence.
“Being front-wheel drive it’s very easy to get front end grip but at the back of your mind you’re always thinking about how to get rear tyre grip and whether the car is going to let go.
“The power delivery was quite linear all the way through the gears. Every time you plucked a gear you could feel power all the way through the rev range.
“Being a turbocharged car you barely feel any turbo lag, or it was very minimal anyway. The brakes are amazing on it. The car pulls up nice and straight”
Another element of the preparation has been simulator driving, learning both circuits in Spain and Belgium so that he can get a head start before he arrives.
“I’d love to go over there and do a bit of testing beforehand, but we’ve only got a couple of days to prepare.
“I’ve spent heaps of time on the simulator and also getting my fitness up, dropping a bit of weight, just trying to give myself the best opportunity to deal with what will be pretty hot conditions.
“The TCR test we did had wet and dry conditions, so now I know how to drive the car in both conditions. It was certainly a lot of fun and I’ve got to thank Track Tec Racing for giving me the chance to drive the car and help with my preparation before going over to Europe.”