AmDtuning.com has confirmed that they will switch cars for 2013. They will build and enter a brand new Vauxhall Astra, meeting the latest Next Generation Touring Car format for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Speaking on the decision to enter the Astra team boss and former racer Shaun Hollamby said, “When I first saw the Astra I thought it would make a fantastic BTCC car and I’m excited about this new programme. While this is a privateer programme, Vauxhall has been an integral part of British Touring Cars for a long time and we are fully focused on producing a car that will be capable of challenging at the sharp end of the grid. As a company, AmDTuning.com is known for its work with cars from the Volkswagen Audi Group, but we work with cars from a wide range of manufacturers and thought long and hard about the best model to use for our first NGTC machine. The Astra is a good size with strong aerodynamics and fits well into the regulations, which seem to favour the smaller and more nimble cars.”
The Astra is a good size with strong aerodynamics...
The West-Thurrock based team first entered the series back in 2010 with their S2000 spec VW Golf and, although success wasn’t instant, the team quickly became popular with the fans. Hollamby won the fans favourite award as voted for on the official BTCC website.
The team snapped up multiple winner Tom Onslow-Cole for 2011 and it wasn’t long until he took the Golf into the points for the first time in round 5 at Donington and impressed further at Thruxton, qualifying 6th and finished race 1 in the team’s best finish to date 7th.
Onslow-Cole’s time with the team didn’t last long; he left to rejoin his old team after race 11. Hollamby took the wheel again at Croft, before Martin Byford finished the second half of the season but failed to score a point.
For 2012 the team ran Ollie Jackson and despite a mixed season, the team enjoyed some encouraging results with Jackson finishing 8th on 3 occasions scoring 61 points in total.
Although the team have confirmed the switch to the Astra, Hollamby has admitted that the they will continue to run the Golf in the first half of the season and said, “While we have been thinking about this move for some time, the fact that the programme has come together now means we will focus on developing the Astra for the second half of the season, giving us the chance to build the car and do some testing before giving it its race debut.”
No drivers have yet been confirmed although Hollamby admits that he would like to continue with Ollie Jackson. Hollamby has not ruled out the possibility of the Golf continuing to run during the second half of the season as well as the Astra saying, “We are talking with Ollie Jackson and would love to keep him onboard as he did a great job last year and showed that he deserves his place in the BTCC, but we are also interested in speaking to other drivers who are interested in competing in the series this season.”
“While our plan at the moment is to start the year with the Golf before introducing the Astra, we could run the Volkswagen for the full season if the right driver comes along who wants to compete for the Jack Sears Trophy. With the reduced boost levels that the S2000 cars will run, it will be a competitive package for a driver who doesn’t quite have the budget to go with an NGTC programme.”
Final specification of the car is still to be decided, although the team did confirm that they are to use the TOCA engine as several other leading teams including the MG team last season and unlike the picture, the car will be a 5-door.