VAUXHALL RETURNS TO BRITISH TOURING CARS
Factory assault confirmed for 2017
British Touring Car Championship team Power Maxed Racing has secured a deal to run a pair of factory - supported Astra hatchbacks.
The team has firmed up a three-year contract to run the two-litre turbocharged cars, and development work on the first machine has already begun.
Power Maxed Racing boss Adam Weaver said: “Carrying the Vauxhall name back in to the British Touring Car Championship is a real privilege, and we are aware of the prestige and success it has had in the past. This will be a great challenge.”
No drivers have yet been signed for the programme. The car is due to be ready to begin testing in mid-february.
Vauxhall will return to the British Touring Car Championship next season as a factory team.
Power Maxed Racing has signed a three-year deal to run new Astras in the series, and initial work has begun on the cars at the team’s base in Bidford, Warwickshire.
The team will be entered into the BTCC’S manufacturer/ constructor championship.
Vauxhall was one of the mainstays of the BTCC over the last three decades, including taking four straight championships for the Astra Coupe model between 2001 and 2004. It withdrew as a factory operation at the end of 2009.
Power Maxed Racing team boss Adam Weaver said he was delighted to tie-up. “When we came in to the BTCC in 2015 with two Chevrolets, we set ourselves an ambition to win the title within five years. That might seem quite ambitious, but there is no point being here unless you are out to win,” he said. “I started talking to manufacturers at the end of our first season, and things progressed. By securing this deal with Vauxhall, I think we are going to surprise a lot of people.”
The team ran Chevrolet Cruzes in 2015 and this season.
Josh Cook and Dave Newsham drove for the outfit initially, with Cook scoring a podium finish at Rockingham. In 2016, Hunter Abbott handled one of the cars with the second shared between Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher and Newsham.
Weaver said no racers have been signed up for 2017 yet, but he was in negotiations.
“I would say we have about six drivers on the list,” said Weaver. “We are talking to a lot of people and it is important that we get the decision right.”
Power Maxed will create the cars in house, rather then sub-contracting the build of the hatchbacks to another firm. The team is aiming to have the first example of the two-litre turbocharged car running by midFebruary next year, with a second example to follow two weeks later.
They will be fitted with the new version of the Swindon Enginesderived BTCC TOCA powerplant. The Power Maxed Racing team was entrusted with running the development version of the motor in the 2016 campaign.
Weaver says that the decision to build the cars at its own base serves to underline the strength of the team.
“We have some very experienced people here, including the likes of Martin Broadhurst, who was in charge of the build of the MG6 cars at Triple Eight,” he said. “We have a crew that has knowledge of what is required to build a winning machine, and I have every confidence that we can create a very strong race car.
“Carrying the Vauxhall name back into the British Touring Car Championship is a privilege, and
we are aware of the prestige it carries and the success it has had in the past. That is going to work in our favour and people will be looking at us closely to carry that tradition on. That will be a great challenge for us.”
BTCC series director Alan Gow said he was delighted to be adding another manufacturer to the entry list. It will join Honda, BMW, Subaru and MG as factorysupported teams in 2017.
“It is fantastic to be welcoming the Vauxhall Astra back to the BTCC,” said Gow. “Its history and pedigree is there for all to see, and I have no doubt that the highly professional and experienced team at Power Maxed Racing are capable of being great partners to represent this iconic model.”
Power Maxed Racing’s deal with Vauxhall is part of a business partnership. Power Maxed is part of the Automotive Brands company, which will help Vauxhall to access further business opportunities.
“This is great for both parties,” added Weaver. “If we can do a good job, then hopefully this will become a long-term partnership.”