The British Touring Car Championship has been enjoying a bumper crop of competitors lately, with more entries in recent years than it has had in a long time. The one glaring omission from the grid has been Vauxhall, but that’s about to change.
Starting next season, Power Maxed Racing will field a racing version of the new Astra in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – one of the most competitive tin-top racing series in the world.
Details of the vehicle itself are still forthcoming, but the entry would appear to be based closely on the Astra TCR (pictured below) that Vauxhall’s German sister brand Opel launched last year. The BTCC, however, goes by the Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) regulations, not the Touring Car Racer (TCR) specs, so certain modifications will inevitably be required. But since both are closely production-based and center around 2.0-liter turbo engines producing upwards of 300 horsepower, they wouldn’t seem to be prohibitive.
Vauxhall has a long history in the BTCC, stretching back to the Cavalier that entered in 1989. That would mark the first of ten titles the automaker would rack up in the series with models like the Vectra and Astra through 2009 when the marque disappeared again.
The new Astra will have to contend with competition-spec versions of the Honda Civic, Toyota Avensis, Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Volkswagen CC, Audi S3, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class, MG6, and Proton Persona to reclaim its former glory.
The partnership with Power Maxed Racing will see parent company Automotive Brands using Vauxhall vehicles in its parts-distribution operation as well, helping to reach fleet operators running some 25,000 commercial vehicles across the UK.