Championship winners Vauxhall will make 2009 their last year in BTCC, it has emerged

    Turn Two

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    Joined : 2008-11-11

    Championship winners Vauxhall will make 2009 their last year in BTCC, it has emerged

    Post by Turn Two on 17th April 2009, 11:17

    2009 to be Vauxhall's last year in BTCC

    Climate: Vauxhall say their pull-out is down to the current economic situation

    Motor manufacturer Vauxhall has announced that due to the current economic climate it is to withdraw from the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at the end of the current season.

    The manufacturer, based in Luton, has been a mainstay of the BTCC grid for the past 20 years in particular, although its participation in the series dates back as far as the Seventies with great names such as Gerry Marshall driving an iconic Firenza Magnum.

    It is in the past two decades, however, that the Vauxhall name has become a huge force in what is the UK’s premier motor racing series, with nine drivers’ and eight manufacturers’ titles among others. Its cars have won a staggering 120 races to date – a record bettered only by Ford. Since 2003, it has also used its participation in the BTCC to successfully market and drive sales of its sporty, high-performance VXR brand of road vehicles.

    In a statement, Vauxhall said the timing of today’s announcement had been carefully considered in to give its key BTCC partner, Triple Eight Race Engineering, as much time as possible to develop its future plans.

    It also stated that while te company regretted having to leave the BTCC for 2010, it will keep an option open for a possible return in future years.

    Andy Gilson, Marketing Director, Vauxhall Motors said: “The company has enjoyed immense success with the BTCC, both on-track and as a focal marketing activity for the VXR brand. However a number of factors have led us to take the decision to withdraw from the championship at the end of this season. Vauxhall’s primary focus for next year will be bringing to market exciting new products, such as the new generation Astra and Meriva models.

    "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Triple Eight Race Engineering for turning our road cars into some of the most successful BTCC entrants in its history. I would also like to thank the drivers who have piloted our cars to victory. I would like to think we can end our run in touring cars with another title-winning season."

    Vauxhall’s glory years in BTCC:
    1989: John Cleland wins BTCC Drivers’ title by dominating Class C (1600-2000cc) in Astra model
    1990: Cleland becomes a crowd favourite in new 2.0-litre Cavalier model
    1991: BTCC goes all 2.0-litre and Cavalier is a regular title-challenger
    1995: Cleland wins a second Drivers’ crown and Vauxhall, in final year with Cavalier, a first Manufacturers’ trophy
    1996: Vauxhall switches to new Vectra model. More race wins follow in next five seasons
    2001: New Astra Coupe model dominates as new era for BTC-spec cars dawns. Car wins 25 of 26 races as Jason Plato takes Drivers’ title in final round from team-mate Yvan Muller
    2002: Astra is again unrivalled as James Thompson this time is Champion
    2003: Muller pips Thompson to Drivers’ title
    2004: A second crown for Thompson who beats Muller by a point
    2005: New Astra Sport Hatch wins Vauxhall a fifth straight Manufacturers’ title – its sixth to date
    2006: Fabrizio Giovanardi achieves Vauxhall’s 100th race win in BTCC (at Knockhill)
    2007: Latest Vectra model is introduced, running to new Super 2000 regulations. Giovanardi wins Drivers’ title
    2008: Giovanardi makes it back-to-back titles as Vauxhall scoops an eighth Manufacturers’ trophy
    2009: Matt Neal wins (Vauxhall’s 120th race victory) in opening round at Brands Hatch to take an early points lead heading to Thruxton on 26 April…



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