BTCC: Vauxhall Motorsport 2003 driver announcement

Vauxhall's dynamic duo will be back! October 31, 2002: Vauxhall Motors is today firing the first warning shots across the bows of its rivals for the coveted 2003 British Touring Car Championship titles with the confirmation of its driver ...

Vauxhall's dynamic duo will be back!

October 31, 2002: Vauxhall Motors is today firing the first warning shots across the bows of its rivals for the coveted 2003 British Touring Car Championship titles with the confirmation of its driver line-up.   The Luton marque can now confirm that touring car stars, 2002 Champion, James Thompson and Frenchman, Yvan Muller, will return next season behind the wheels of Vauxhall Motorsport's all-conquering 2.0-litre Astra Coupé BTCC race cars.   In what will be their second consecutive season as teammates, the pair have been tasked with spearheading Vauxhall's campaign to become the first manufacturer in the history of the BTCC to secure the Manufacturers', Teams' and Drivers' titles three years running.   The defence of its titles will be even more poignant as 2003 marks not only Vauxhall's fifteenth consecutive year in the series, but also its centenary year.   Mike Nicholson, Vauxhall Motorsport Operations Manager said: "We are delighted to have retained the services of both Yvan and James. They were a formidable team this year and were instrumental in enabling us to successfully defend our Manufacturers' and Teams' titles. I challenge the other teams to field a stronger driver line-up."   Nicholson concluded: "All that remains now is to knuckle down over the winter season in order to stay one step ahead of the competition as we have every intention of repeating our successes next year!"

York's 28-year-old hero, Thompson clinched his first ever BTCC title this year with Vauxhall and is thrilled to be back, commenting;   "I'm very pleased to be continuing with the team again. Not only do I think it's important to have continuity but there is no doubt that Vauxhall is the best place to be next year to defend my Drivers' title. I'm confident that the Astra Coupé BTCC race car will continue to be a winner and am looking forward to helping Vauxhall retain the Manufacturers' and Teams' titles."   Muller, twice runner-up in the BTCC, joins the team for a fifth consecutive season. The 33-year-old from Alsace, who took the 2002 title fight right down to the wire, is widely regarded as one of the best touring car drivers in the business.   Vauxhall Motorsport's two race-going Astra Coupés will again be built and run by its existing race partner, Triple Eight Race Engineering.   James Thompson and Yvan Muller will both be present on Motorsport Days of the British International Motorshow (Birmingham NEC). They will be available to meet the public and sign autograph cards at the main Vauxhall stand at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm on both Friday and Saturday (November 1-2).      -vm-

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Series BTCC