Opel Astra TCR (2016)



Opel Astra TCR

Opel took full advantage of the international TCR (Touring Car Racing) presentation at the circuit Jules Tacheny in Mettet, Belgium, showing their new customer racing touring car for the first time. The Opel Astra TCR combines ultra-modern racing technology with an effective safety concept while simultaneously remaining close to production. It enables the Opel teams to compete in short and long distance races - such as the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring - with a technically unchanged vehicle.

The 5-door Astra is powered by a highly efficient two-liter turbocharged engine that will deliver 330 hp and maximum torque of 420 Nm (both determined by the "Balance of Performance" concept), thus ensuring that vehicle with a curb weight of 1,200 kilograms has enough propulsion. This power is transferred to the front wheels via a sequential, six-speed racing transmission with the paddle shift located on the steering wheel. Adhesion is established via a twin-disc sinter metal clutch. An automated double declutching system creates stability when shifting down. The racing car is decelerated by 378 mm brake discs and 6-piston brake calipers at the front along with 265 mm brake discs and 2-piston brake calipers at the back. The driver can modulate the braking balance from the cockpit.

The chassis is fully adjustable and comes with ultra-modern damper technology. The efficient aerodynamics, which include an adjustable front splitter and rear spoiler that for cost reasons are standard components and identical on all TCR vehicles, are also relevant for the vehicle set-up. Electronic assistance systems such as ABS and ESP are not permitted.

In order to ensure that the Opel customer teams can use their Astra TCR for a number of years without making any technical adjustments, the car already comes with features that the International Automobile Association (FIA) will only declare mandatory from the 2017 season such as the 100-liter fuel safety tank.

Opel's commitment in the Touring Car Racing Series marks the continuation of a long and successful tradition in touring car racing. Customer racing has always been a key pillar in Opel's motorsport commitment in many countries across Europe alongside factory-backed participation in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) or national championships such as the German Supertouring Championship (STW). The concept of the TCR matches this philosophy perfectly - with powerful, optically impressive close-to-production touring cars available at affordable prices, the TCR meets the current requirements of the interested customer teams.

The TCR also offers Opel the perfect platform to present its new volume model in a racing environment in the involved markets. The various national championships, obviously including the new German TCR series (ADAC TCR Germany), which will be staged under the overall control of Opel's longtime partner ADAC, and the European championship are an ideal playing field for Opel and its customer teams. The three-tier concept - national and continental championships along with the global TCR International Series - ensures that customer teams can compete worldwide with the same car.

The Astra TCR is being developed in close cooperation with Opel's longstanding partner Kissling Motorsport from Bad Münstereifel. Initial performance checks are set to take place before the end of October. A limited amount of Opel Astra TCRs will be delivered to selected customer teams from February of next year. The race-ready vehicle will cost a competitive €95,000 (plus VAT).

Continuation of a Successful Tradition

Opel is continuing its long and successful tradition in touring car racing with its commitment in the Touring Car Racing Series (TCR). Customer racing has always been a key pillar in Opel's motorsport commitment in many countries throughout Europe alongside factory-backed participation in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) or narional championships such as the German Supertouring Championship (STW). The concept of the TCR matches this philosophy perfectly - with powerful, optically impressive close-to-production touring cars available at affordable prices, the TCR meets the current requirements of the interested customer teams.

Thus, the racing series offers Opel a perfect stage. The new 5-door Astra brings all decisive genes for a successful touring car to the table. A potent, highly efficient two-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 330 hp powers the Astra TCR. The racing car will also offer some technological highlights such as a sequential racing transmission with paddle shift.

The TCR also offers teams the chance to race the newest and one of the most popular compact cars in many countries - the Opel Astra, which is the second-most sold nameplate throughout Europe since 1991 with over 12 million units. The various national championships, obviously including the new German TCR series, which will be staged under the overall control of Opel's longtime partner ADAC, is an ideal playing field for Opel, its customer teams and the public.

The three-tier concept - national and continental championships along with the global TCR International Series - ensures that customer teams can compete worldwide with the same car. The "Balance of Performance" concept based on the GT3 model ensures that cars from any brand have the same chance of winning.

The Opel Astra TCR is being developed in close cooperation with Opel's longstanding partner Kissling Motorsport, which once again showcased its excellence when developing the ADAM R2 rallye car: In the hands of its customer racers, the ADAM R2 has collected no less than 61 victories in 90 starts against established competitors. The Astra TCR development's schedule is extremely tight. Initial performance checks are set to take place before the end of October. A limited amount of Opel Astra TCRs will be delivered to selected customer teams from February of next year.

"The philosophy of the TCR series matches Opel's philosophy perfectly," said Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott. "In times of strict cost control and the necessity of focusing on efficiency and sustainability, the TCR meets the requirements of manufacturers and teams alike. Competitive, spectacular motorsport with close-to-production but fascinating technology combined with calculable and controllable costs - that is exactly what Opel wants to see. I am sure that the new Astra has everything that it takes to be successful in the TCR series."

Exciting Technology

The brand new Opel Astra TCR, developed in close cooperation with Opel's longstanding partner Kissling Motorsport, will delight professional customer teams in the emerging TCR series with numerous technical highlights.

The 5-door Astra is powered by a highly efficient two-liter turbocharged engine that will deliver 330 hp and maximum torque of 420 Nm (both determined by the "Balance of Performance" concept), thus ensuring that vehicle with a curb weight of 1,200 kilograms has enough propulsion. This power is transferred to the front wheels via a sequential, six-speed racing transmission with the paddle shift located on the steering wheel. Adhesion is established via a twin-disc sinter metal clutch. An automated double declutching system creates stability when shifting down. The racing car is decelerated by 378 mm brake discs and 6-piston brake calipers at the front along with 265 mm brake discs and 2-piston brake calipers at the back. The driver can modulate the braking balance from the cockpit.

The chassis is fully adjustable and comes with ultra-modern damper technology. The efficient aerodynamics, which include an adjustable front splitter and rear spoiler that for cost reasons are standard components and identical on all TCR vehicles, are also relevant for the vehicle set-up. Electronic assistance systems such as ABS and ESP are not permitted.

In order to ensure that the Opel customer teams can use their Astra TCR for a number of years without making any technical adjustments, the car already comes with features that the International Automobile Association (FIA) will only declare mandatory from the 2017 season. This includes the 100-liter fuel safety tank along with a homologized safety cage for each vehicle. The Opel Astra TCR is therefore also setting standards in passive safety.

The Opel Astra TCR combines ultra-modern racing features with a highly effective safety concept while simultaneously staying close to production, thus offering the Opel teams the possibility of using it in sprint and long-distance races - such as the legendary 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife - without having to make any technical changes.

Concept of the Time

The Touring Car Racing (TCR) Series is on the road to becoming one of the leading platforms for close-to-production touring car racing. Opposed to the factory-backed competitions such as the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) or the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the TCR offers a stage for ambitioned, professional customer racing teams looking to deliver exciting sport with close-to-production and attractive touring cars. Factory-backed teams are not allowed in the TCR. The manufacturers offer their vehicles to the customers but are not involved in the action on the track.

The so-called "Balance of Performance" system, successfully used in other racing series, safeguards equal opportunities, thus ensuring that every manufacturer can develop and offer a competitive TCR vehicle, regardless of the conceptual interpretation of the production model. The key "Balance of Performance" levers in the TCR are weight, engine output and ride height.

The philosophy of the TCR is especially appealing to Opel customer teams as it gives them the opportunity to use a touring car on the national and international stage with one single homologation. Apart from national championships, the TCR also offers continental championships, for example in Europe and Asia, and the global TCR International Series. Furthermore, the Opel Astra TCR is perfectly suitable for short as well as long distance racing and can be used in events such as the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring. This gives the Rüsselsheim-based carmaker the ideal opportunity to offer its clients a versatile racing car in its key European markets. Close attention will obviously be paid to the new ADAC TCR Germany, hosted under the watchful eye of Europe's largest automobile club. The races will be held as part of the popular ADAC GT Masters.

Marcello Lotti, spiritual father and promoter of the TCR series is keen to emphasize the necessity for a close-to-production touring car platform. "There is a huge demand for powerful touring cars that can be purchased and run for a reasonable price. The main goal of the TCR concept is to strengthen touring car racing by delivering a global entry-level platform that promises exciting motorsport thanks to the Balance of Performance regulations. Manufacturers and tuners will have to possibility to increase their client base while teams and drivers can grow and develop. The 2015 debut season proved that the TCR concept can deliver on all these goals. The races are exciting, we had lots of different winners in different brands and interest from organizers willing to stage a national TCR championship is huge. Therefore, the number of active manufacturers - such as Opel - who will contribute to the success of the TCR concept is growing."

Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott added: "This philosophy matches the philosophy of Opel Motorsport perfectly. We have been watching the TCR very closely since it was launched at the beginning of the 2015 season and agree that international motorsport needs such a platform. Our customer teams want a stage for spectacular and affordable motorsport. The TCR concept offers the perfect combination. We are looking to a competitive, exciting but fair competition held between the numerous customer teams of the different manufacturers."

Opel Motorsport: A Moving 116-Year History

Emil Bergkvist is the latest driver to add to Opel's long and successful tradition in international motorsport. The Swede recently won the European Rallye Junior Championship in the ADAM R2, adding another chapter to the success story that started in 1899. Since the early days and the first victories, Opel has shown an ongoing commitment to motorsport and can now look back on a glittering history while as the same time building on the foundations laid in the past and using the experience, passion and excitement to construct winning cars of the future.

The first Opel win on record dates back to 1901 when Heinrich von Opel won the mountain race up the Königsstuhl near Heidelberg in the Opel Patent Motor Car "System Lutzmann". From 1903 to 1926 Carl Jörns celebrate an astonishing 288 wins for Opel. Jörns was the first ever Opel factory driver.

World War II and the following years of reconstruction put a stop to Opel's motorsport ambition for many years before the brand with the "Blitz" bounced back in the 1970s and 1980s. Opel recorded numerous wins on the international rallye circuit with the 1982 world championship won by Walter Röhrl and co-driver Christian Geistdörfer in an Opel Ascona 400 in 1982 marking the pinnacle of this successful period. Furthermore, Walter Röhrl/Jochen Berger (1974), Jochi Kleint/Gunter Wanger (1979), Antonio Fassina/Rudy Dal Pozzo (1982) and Emil Bergkvist/Joakim Sjöberg (2015) brought home four European championships, while others like Guy Fréquelin (1983 and 1985 in France) or Guy Colsoul (Belgium, 1979 and 1981) collected national champion titles.

In the 1990s, focus shifted more to circuit racing. Two years after winning his first race in Donington Park, UK, Manuel Reuter celebrated the title in the International Touring Car Championship, the unofficial touring car world championship, in a Calibra V6 4x4 in 1996. Reuter went on to finish second in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in an Opel Astra V8 Coupé in 2000.

Three years later the same car driven by Manuel Reuter, Timo Scheider, Marcel Tiemann and Volker Strycek celebrated an overall win at the extremely competitive 24-hour race on the legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. By the way, Opel has recorded the second most wins in the VLN endurance championship held on the Nürburgring.

The development of the Opel Astra TCR is the next step in Opel's motorsport history. The new two-liter racing car is designed for use in customer sport - including races on the most beautiful and difficult racing track in the world - the Nürburgring Nordschleife.