Opel Motorsport Returns to South African Championship

After a two-year break from touring car racing, during which time it focussed on the Group N Championship, Opel Motorsport is back in the premier formula thanks to a partnership forged with Petronas through its Petronas PX2 Touring Cars, and ...

After a two-year break from touring car racing, during which time it focussed on the Group N Championship, Opel Motorsport is back in the premier formula thanks to a partnership forged with Petronas through its Petronas PX2 Touring Cars, and together they mean business!

The marque's return to the Bankfin Touring Car Championship with Petronas represents a partnership between two dynamic global companies, both with exceptional track records in the world of motorsport.

Opel Motorsport Team South Africa has a long history of success in local motorsport, having won championships in every year of competition since its entry to the sport in 1986.

Focussing predominantly on the Stannic Group N championship over the past 12 years, the marque has won 31 drivers' titles and 11 manufacturers' titles in this category.

When the Super Touring Car formula was introduced into the country in 1993, Opel was immediately successful winning the drivers' title with Michael Briggs behind the wheel of an Astra.

Two years later Briggs repeated the feat when he dominated the season, breaking all records, in a Vectra.

At the end of the 1996 season Opel Motorsport withdrew from the Super Touring Car category, as the cost of competing had become prohibitively expensive.

It's decision forced a re-think in the rules by all the parties involved, including Opel, which led to a new, locally-derived SA Touring Car formula. The new formula has seen a reduction in the cost of competing, making it an attractive proposition once more.

Now, thanks to its partnership with Petronas and the reduction in costs, Opel Motorsport makes its return to the series after a two-year hiatus. The team will henceforth be known as Team Petronas Syntium Opel.

Petronas, through its Team Petronas PX2, signed a two-year technical and sponsorship partnership with Opel Motorsport, which brings together two high-technology companies both intent on making their mark in the South African marketplace.

Considering both companies' motorsport pedigree and technical excellence, it should come as no surprise that they have decided to join forces to challenge for honours in the Bankfin Touring Car Championship.

Facing up to this new challenge, Opel is intent on repeating its previous successes with its two new Vectra touring cars to be driven by Shaun Watson-Smith and Deon Joubert.

The 2.0 litre Vectras, which have been under construction at the company's Port Elizabeth motorsport facility since late last year, have been built in record time from scratch by the Opel Motorsport team under the leadership of Mike Carroll.

The first shell was only delivered from Germany in early October, with the second arriving four weeks later. With the South African regulations being unique in the world, there were no drawings or plans to fall back on from the overseas operations.

Carroll and his team have thus designed and built the entire car at Opel Motorsport's facility - no mean feat!

Only the engines, which were built to local specification, have been imported from Spiess Tuning in Germany. However even these engines feature many components which were manufactured locally by Opel Motorsport Team South Africa.

The first Vectra completed turned a wheel at Port Elizabeth's Aldo Scribante circuit last week Thursday for the first time, before being transported to AA Kyalami overnight where it continued its development programme on Friday.

With the combination of Opel Motorsport Team South Africa, Petronas and sub-sponsors TSW, Crosscape, PG Autoglass and Holiday Inn, Team Petronas Syntium Opel will no doubt be on the winners rostrum before too long.

Ends

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF OPEL MOTORSPORT BY mSPORT

http://www.themotorweb.com.au/Petronas/

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + TEAM PETRONAS TOURING CARS Media Relations: Roderick Eime Voice: +612 9740 6199 Fax: +612 9749 4145 Email: petronas@themotorweb.com.au

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