You go ahead and try to find a racing series with as high a participation rate as the British Touring Car Championship. With 13 different models from 10 different manufacturers covering 27 entries, the BTCC field is at an all-time high this year. But there's always room for one more.
That one more is slated to come in the form of the Vauxhall Insignia – known on these shores as the Buick Regal. Of course as General Motors' British subsidiary, Vauxhall is already well-represented on the BTCC grid. In fact, the Griffin marque has claimed six drivers' titles, six teams' titles and eight manufacturers' titles just since the turn of the millennium. But while the Astra has dominated in years past and the Vectra appears on the grid this year – to say nothing of the Chevrolet Cruze – the new addition is reportedly going a decidedly larger route by converting the Insignia into a touring car.
The project is being undertaken by Thorney Motorsport, a British tuning and racing firm that specializes in BMWs and Vauxhalls, who are tempted by the latest cost-effective Next-Generation Touring Car (NGTC) regulations. The Insignia would be the fourth NGTC-spec car on the grid, joining the Toyota Avensis, Audi A4 and Proton Gen-2 along with the ten returning S2000 and BTC-T cars.
Thorney, which operates 60 performance garages across the UK, may opt to develop its own engine or else use the spec engine package offered by series organizers TOCA. The larger form of the Insignia, the team hopes, will be offset by its low aerodynamic drag coefficient. Thorney hopes to have the car on the grid by the end of the season.
[Sources: BTCC, Autosport]