A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £3,600
The ubiquitous Astra Coupé was the model chosen by Vauxhall to spearhead their challenge in the 2001 British Touring Car Championship. The cars were prepared by Triple 8 Race Engineering, who ran Vauxhall's official works program and they were obviously ahead of the game as the Astras were the first BTCC contenders to be unveiled to the press in late 2000. Triple 8 had worked on the Astra in the summer of that year and as a result, with 4 cars - 2 with Vauxhall sponsorship (driven by Jason Plato and Yvan Muller) and 2 with Egg Banking sponsorship (driven by James Thompson, Phil Bennett, and a one-off appearance by Andy Priaulx) had given themselves a head start on the rest of the field at the start of the 2001 season. In the end, it was far more advanced in its development than anything else in the field, dominating the season by winning 25 out of 26 races. A three-way battle for the championship lasted throughout the season, with Jason Plato emerging victorious by 18 points. In fact, so dominant were the cars that the lowest placed Astra driver, Phil Bennett, who finished 4th in the Driver's Championship, was 58 points clear of the man in 5th. For the following two seasons, the Astra continued to win races and championships, with James Thompson taking the honors in '02 and Yvan Muller in '03. 2004 would be the last season the Astra Coupés were used by the works Vauxhall team with Thompson and Muller partnered by Luke Hines. Despite the arrival of SEAT with former champion Jason Plato, and strengthened Honda and MG efforts, they were unable to break the dominance of the Vauxhall, which again won the drivers, manufacturers and teams championships. Once more, James Thompson was the champion, this time edging a close title fight by just 1 point ahead of Muller. In fact, despite the strengthened works teams that had come into the BTCC since 2001, the gap still remained huge - Muller finished the season 49 points ahead of the nearest challenger. Presented here at ‘No Reserve' is a Vauxhall Astra BTCC 'rolling chassis' with all driveline parts removed. We believe this chassis was used as a show car for 888 and looks, to all intents and purposes, as if it may have raced or tested in period, but we cannot verify this. Given the popularity of the British Touring Car Championship, and the way in which championships for various earlier periods in saloon car racing (eg Super Touring) are beginning to emerge, then an opportunity to run older BTCC cars may well appear. What better chance to obtain, perhaps, an ideal spares package or indeed a base on which to rebuild one of the most successful cars in the history of the BTCC. Or alternatively, in the manner in which people buy old F1 nosecones after dinner at a charity auction, it's a great opportunity to arrive home tonight with the ultimate 'impulse purchase'!