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Vauxhall Astras will join British Touring Car Championship line-up

By raccars Published

Astra

Vauxhall back on track with British Touring Car Championship official manufacturer entry.

Vauxhall is heading back to the race track after announcing that it is set to be a manufacturer entry at the next Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. The hugely successful brand will make its return thanks to the Power Maxed Racing alliance.

The British manufacturer has not been officially represented in the BTCC line-up since 2009, although there were private Vauxhall entries until two years ago. A new deal will mean that a brace of Vauxhall Astras will take to the BTCC grid for at least three years from next year, joining the likes of MG, Subaru, BMW and Honda in the race for the official manufacturers’ title.

The new racing alliance forms part of a broader fleet car deal involving Automotive Brands, Power Maxed Racing’s parent company, and Vauxhall. The team’s base in Warwickshire has already seen the delivery of Astra shells and these are being fitted out according to BTCC rules.

Power Maxed Racing made its debut in the BTCC last year and has entered Chevrolet Cruzes over the last two seasons. The new Astras will get their power from a BTCC TOCA 2.0 Swindon Engines-derived unit, which is the stock engine choice.

Driver line-up coming soon

No information has been released yet as to potential drivers but Adam Weaver, Power Maxed Racing’s team principal, said that the team is hoping to announce an ‘exciting’ and ‘talented’ line-up soon. There are around six names currently on the short list for the team.

Weaver says that it is ‘a privilege’ to be taking Vauxhall back to the BTCC and the team understands the prestige associated with the firm's involvement and the previous successes of the brand. He believes that this will work in the new team’s favour as enthusiasts wait for the team to meet the challenge of carrying on the Vauxhall tradition.

The BTCC’s series director, Alan Gow, said that it is ‘fantastic’ that Vauxhall is taking its place as an official manufacturer entry at the BTCC, adding that the brand’s ‘pedigree’ and ‘history’ is evident and that it seems set to create a notable partnership with the experienced and ‘highly professional’ Power Maxed Racing Team.

Vauxhall and BTCC success

Vauxhall became one of the BTCC’s most successful manufacturers, winning 132 races, together with ten constructors’ titles. Vauxhall also won eight drivers’ titles in the 21 years starting in 1989, including a pair each for Fabrizio Giovanardi, James Thompson and John Cleland.

Power Maxed Racing’s Weaver said that the team was ‘proud’ and ‘incredibly pleased’ to have formed an alliance with Vauxhall and to be involved in the return of a such a successful and iconic brand to the BTCC. He added that he believed that the new Astra was ‘a fantastic car’, saying that it was no surprise when it became this year’s European Car of the Year. He believes that it will be a serious contender in the BTCC.

Weaver confirmed that the shells had been supplied and that work is now in progress as experts turn the Vauxhall Astra into the car needed to deliver on the marque's BTCC potential. The announcement of the driver line-up will come next, he said, further inspiring and motivating those involved the project.

The end of an era

Vauxhall caused a stir seven years ago when it announced that it was quitting the BTCC, despite being a mainstay of modern touring car racing. By 2009, however, it was the series’ sole manufacturer after its only existing competitor, Seat, left at season close in 2008.

At the time, Vauxhall said that it had made the decision as a result of the lack of other manufacturer teams and in the interests of financial prudence during the global economic downturn.

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