Vauxhall withdraws from British Touring Car Championship after 20 years
By most accounts, the mantra of "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" hasn't worked for a long time. In fact, we're not sure it ever worked. But there were certainly happier times for motorsports fans when the automakers blissfully adhered to that age-old nugged. Unfortunately blissful ignorance isn't the best game plan at this stage – especially for any General Motors divisions – which could go a long way towards explaining why so many automakers have been canceling their factory racing programs recently. The latest to leave the track, British motorsport fans will be saddened to learn – is Vauxhall.
The British automaker has been competing in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) for 20 years now, and with its partner Triple Eight Race Engineering racing under the VX Racing banner, had achieved an insurmountable dominance of the saloon car racing series in claiming the title seven out of the last eight years, racking up 100 race wins along the way. Unfortunately, desperate times call for desperate measures, and that dominance will come to an end after this season is over. Will a future Vauxhall teamed up with Opel under new management find its way back to the BTCC? Only time will tell, but Vauxhall is leaving the door open just in case. Details in the press release after the jump.
[Source: Vauxhall] PRESS RELEASE
VAUXHALL TO DEPART BTCC AT END OF 2009 SEASON
Vauxhall announced today that VX Racing will not return to the British Touring Car Championship in 2010. The Luton-based manufacturer, the most successful in modern touring cars history, will continue to campaign three cars this year, driven by Fabrizio Giovanardi, Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan.
The decision to withdraw from the BTCC in 2010 was influenced by the absence of other manufacturer-backed teams and financial prudence in the current global economic downturn. While the company regrets having to leave the BTCC for 2010, it will keep an option open for a possible return to the sport in future years.
The timing of today's announcement has been carefully considered in order to allow Vauxhall's key BTCC partner, Triple Eight Race Engineering, as much time as possible to develop their future plans.
Triple Eight has been a successful partner with Vauxhall over the last 13 years, with the team recently celebrating its 100th win with VX Racing earlier this month, having taken Vauxhall to seven manufacturer titles in the last eight years, with the Astra Coupé, Astra Sport Hatch VXR and the Vectra VXR.
The company's BTCC race programme was rebranded from Vauxhall Motorsport to VX Racing in 2003, with the introduction of the VXR brand to the portfolio the following year.
Andy Gilson, Marketing Director, Vauxhall Motors explains, "The company has enjoyed immense success with BTCC, both on track and as a focal marketing activity for the VXR brand. However a number of factors have led us to take the decision to withdraw from the championship at the end of this season. Vauxhall's primary focus for next year will be bringing to market exciting new products, such as the new generation Astra and Meriva models.''
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Triple Eight Race Engineering for turning our road cars into some of the most successful BTCC entrants in its history. I would also like to thank the drivers who have piloted our cars to victory. I would like to think we can end our run in touring cars with another title-winning season."