After racing the Astra V8 Coup? in the DTM for four years, Opel's focus will switch to a car based on the Vectra GTS five-door model for the 2004 season, motorsport director Volker Strycek announced at Hockenehim this weekend. The manufacturer plans to field seven cars altogether, including some of the current Astras.
"The Vectra offers the options of several car-body versions. After extensive wind-tunnel investigations we decided the Vectra GTS, with its fastback body, represents the altogether most favourable package."
Opel is already planning its assault on the 2004 championship; after this weekend's season finale at Hockeheim, the team will be tyre testing at Lausitz. DTM tyre supplier Dunlop has a new design to test which differs in build and dimensions from the current tyres.
As it did at the same time last year, Opel will carry out driver try-outs in the winter 2003/2004 period. Last winter the team tested fourteen drivers, including Peter Dumbreck, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Marcel Tiemann (as backup and test driver).
"In the next few months we will again carry out such a selection procedure," said Strycek. "In doing so, Formula Three drivers will also be tried as part of our active promotion of young people."
From this year's Opel drivers, Manuel Reuter is the only one with a contract beyond 2003. However, Peter Dumbreck looks set to continue with the team after a handshake agreement with Strycek this weekend.
Mercedes looks set to start 2004 with the C class and Abt-Audi will reportedly trade this year's TT-R for the A4.