Rewriting the modern day record books with a catalogue of success
In the modern era of the British Touring Car Championship, Vauxhall has been one of the giants.
Since the advent of the two-litre era in 1991, the Luton firm was a constant presence until it withdrew in 2009.
Even after that, privateer versions of the Vectra and Insignia model took part in the category through until the end of 2014, making it the most enduring marque on the grid.
Initially, the Vauxhall Cavalier cars were run by DC Cook Racing Services, which also supplied privateer cars to Ecurie Ecosse for 1992 and 1993.
Cook then lost the contract to Ray Mallock Limited, which had run the Ecurie Ecosse cars (notably for David Leslie) for 1994.
The campaign flourished in 1995 and provided Vauxhall with its greatest moment in the Super Touring era, when John Cleland lifted the drivers’ crown in 1995 in a field that included eight other manufacturer teams.
For 1997, Vauxhall Motorsport boss Mike Nicholson took the brave decision to switch to the newly formed Triple Eight Race Engineering team headed up by Roland Dane, ex-f1 driver Derek Warwick and former Williams Grand Prix Engineering guru Ian Harrison.
Although the campaign was again tough to begin with, as the Vectra had poor aero because it was copied from the German racing version of the saloon, the relationship between Triple Eight and Vauxhall went on to become one of the most successful in the category.
When cut-price Btc-spec regulations were introduced to the BTCC in 2001, Triple Eight built the Vauxhall Astra Coupe.
It would go on to raise the bar. It won four straight drivers’ titles in the hands of Jason Plato, James Thompson and Yvan Muller, and Vauxhall claimed manufacturers’ spoils in each of those seasons.
The Astra Sport Hatch, though unloved by its drivers, took the makes’ trophy in 2005. The following season, Fabrizio Giovanardi arrived and Triple Eight set about building a new Vectra to S2000 specifications to suit the Italian. He claimed two straight crowns. Then, without warning, Vauxhall withdrew at the end of 2009.