BTCC: Vauxhall Racing 2003 preview

Vauxhall Racing ready to defend BTC Championship. Team revved up and raring to go with launch of new car. 03 April 2003: Vauxhall Racing drivers James Thompson, Yvan Muller and Paul O'Neill unveiled their new-look 2003 challengers yesterday ...

Vauxhall Racing ready to defend BTC Championship.
Team revved up and raring to go with launch of new car.

03 April 2003: Vauxhall Racing drivers James Thompson, Yvan Muller and Paul O'Neill unveiled their new-look 2003 challengers yesterday at Brands Hatch. In preparation for the 2003 season the team has been re-named Vauxhall Racing and the modified Astra Coupes have been re-branded in an all new livery.

The defending champions are prepared for strong competition this season, not only from other manufacturers, but also from within their three-car squad. In 2002 James Thompson and Yvan Muller battled for the victor's spoils down to the wire, and the pre-season form has shown that the drivers and teams are exceptionally closely matched again this year.

Yesterday's Brands Hatch test offered the first opportunity for the all the teams to test together, and gave an insight into the season ahead. Mike Nicholson, Vauxhall Racing Operations Manager, comments: 'We had a good afternoon's testing, with no problems. We worked through specific driver programmes and are in good pre-season shape. We are now going to Croft for two days to consolidate our winter test programme.'

Vauxhall Racing's drivers and team have worked hard during the off-season to ensure they will be on the pace from the first round of the championship in Mondello Park at Easter. Mike continues: 'During the winter we've focused on every aspect of the car and have made improvements. Of course, until we have a true comparison with the other teams at Mondello Park it's difficult to say whether our improvements are enough to stay ahead of the pack.'

As the defending champions, Vauxhall Racing is aiming for the treble in 2003 - Vauxhall's centenary year. Vauxhall is setting out to become the first manufacturer in the history of the BTCC to secure the manufacturer's, driver's and team titles for three consecutive years.

Looking to the season ahead, Mike Nicholson adds: 'Vauxhall Racing will be defending all three titles with vigour, and we are setting out to be the first manufacturer to be victorious in three consecutive years. We are expecting strong competition of course, but we are fully prepared for the challenges ahead, and are optimistic that we are in good shape at this point of the season.'

Vauxhall Racing, or VX Racing as the team will also be known, intrinsically links the team to the Vauxhall brand. The team's new profile is reflected in Vauxhall's continued move towards more sports models within its product line-up, such as the VX220 turbo and centenary Astra Coupe Edition 100.

-vr-

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Yvan Muller , Paul O'Neill , James Thompson