Vauxhall's four Astra Coupe drivers are sending out a clear message this week in anticipation of Rounds 7&8 of the www.theAA.com British Touring Car Championship at the weekend's Silverstone Night Race on June 1/2 - "Catch us if you can".
The Astra Coupes have dominated the championship podium so far this year and although the cars are gathering success ballast, Yvan Muller's double win at Oulton Park whilst carrying 42kgs illustrates the sheer power and strength of the Vauxhall Astra Coupe. Muller now leads the drivers' championship with a total of 70 points and as a result of his success, will carry maximum weight ballast. Egg Sport Astra Coupe driver, James Thompson also carries maximum ballast after finishing second in both Sprint and Feature Races at Oulton Park. Thompson lies twelve points behind Muller and in overall second place in the drivers' championship.
"I'm quite confident about the night race although the weight I'll be carrying will obviously be a factor," said Vauxhall Motorsport's Muller. "Fortunately though, it is a night race and track temperatures should be cooler. We will just have to wait and see."
Oxfordshire-based Jason Plato, who lies third in the drivers' championship on 68 points, took podium positions in three of last year's four night races and is expecting to pose a serious threat at Silverstone.
"I had a bit of bad luck at Oulton Park but Silverstone is one of my stronger circuits so the objective will be to get two wins this weekend. I haven't done that many night races but I do seem to do well. They pose a different challenge for a driver and are great fun. I'm really looking forward to it."
Night races always produce some of the most spectacular racing in the BTCC calendar and spectators should not miss the sight of the BTCC cars lit up against the night sky. To help differentiate between the cars, all four Astra Coupes will use a coloured light system placed in the top corner of their windscreens. Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller will carry a red light and Jason Plato, blue. The Egg Sport Astra Coupe of James Thompson will use orange and Phil Bennett's, green.
A more compact weekend, teams have just one 15-minute night practice session on Friday, June 1 before a full day of action-packed racing on Saturday. BTC Touring qualifying takes place between 2.45pm and 3.15pm with the pit walkabout and autograph session at 5pm giving fans the opportunity to meet their touring car heroes in person and snap up any team goodies being given away. The evening's races begin at 7.35pm with the 15-lap Sprint, which is followed by the main 30-lap Feature Race at 10.10pm.
Television coverage will be shown the following weekend on BBC Grandstand. TOCA Radio will be available on 1602MW giving listeners at the event, and in the surrounding area, all the inside news, results and paddock gossip.