December 3, 2001: Vauxhall Motors has today confirmed its 2002 BTCC driver line-up as French and British touring car aces, Yvan Muller and James Thompson.
Continuing his longstanding relationship with Vauxhall, 32-year-old Muller joins the team for a fourth consecutive year. The Frenchman was runner-up in the 2001 BTCC having notched up an impressive 22 podium positions including ten wins and nine pole positions in his 2.0-litre BTCC Vauxhall Astra Coupé.
Joining Muller for the first time as a Vauxhall Motorsport teammate is 27-year-old Yorkshireman, James Thompson. Thompson is expected to feel right at home with the Triple Eight Race Engineering run team having campaigned an Egg Sport Astra Coupé in this year's championship. He finished his season in third place overall with an equally impressive 19 podium positions. This will be Thompson's second season as an official Vauxhall driver having first raced with the team in 1996.
Mike Nicholson, Vauxhall Motorsport Operations Manager said: "There is no doubt that we are going to have some staunch competition in next year's British Touring Car Championship and as reigning BTCC Manufacturers' and Teams' Champions we wanted to field the two drivers who we feel would work well together to defend our titles in 2002. Yvan and James have a wealth of experience between them and given their knowledge of our Championship winning Astra Coupé, we have every confidence that we will be starting next year's assault on the BTCC with a formidable duo." Vauxhall Motorsport's two race-going Astra Coupés will again be built and run by its existing race partner, Triple Eight Race Engineering. Vauxhall's 2002 campaign takes the number of consecutive years that the Luton marque has supported the British series to fourteen, having first entered in 1989.