VAUX­HALL RE­TURNS TO BRI­TISH TOUR­ING CARS

Fac­tory as­sault con­firmed for 2017

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By Matt James

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.”

PMR’S 2016 Chevro­let cars

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the new BTCC Vaux­hall

Weaver hopes the deal will be long-term

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