The Opel brand, which has teamed with Buick for the development of international models and even shows some builds that make it into the Buicks we see in the US, now has a race car that will compete against some already lauded brands and models. If you are familiar with the Astra hatchback you know it to be a nice little hatchback with some good features, but overall not a very exciting vehicle at all. Turning into a racing machine has made a huge difference as it gains several aerodynamic features including a huge wing in the rear and a low to the ground front splitter.
The new Astra racer will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show this month and will give us a better idea of what exactly we can expect from this dynamic racer. The new Astra will actually compete in the TCR International racing series which was started just last year. This is a bold and extremely intelligent move by Opel because the TCR series uses the same rules for every race regardless of location, which means a racing team can use the same car in a variety of races without the worry of having to change or modify it for each series.
The Astra racer, with its lower stance, wider body, wide open vents and air cutting design is expected to perform exceptionally well on the track for Opel. This little racer will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will make 330 horsepower and 302 lb.-ft. of torque. Along with this power package is a racing tuned suspension and chassis and one of the most responsive steering systems ever built in order to create that perfect balance on the track and keep the car planted in and out of turns for maximum acceleration and speed.
The idea of Opel using the Astra to compete in this racing series is not a new one. The Astra competed in the inaugural season of the TCR International against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Audi TT, Honda Civic Type-R, Seat Leon and more. The expectation for this next season is to have a car that will not only compete, but can win many of the various races that make up the TCR racing circuit. This will help Opel gain some notoriety in the racing world and add a definitive market value to their design and development which have been foreshadowed by the low end bargain brand products they have on the roads currently.
Will this new Opel Astra racer do what is needed? Only time will tell; and we will get a better look at this new car at the Frankfurt Auto Show later this month. The initial design and numbers certainly seem promising and very exciting, so let’s see what kind of stats this new hot hatch brings to the table. It may be good enough that we see a Buick hot hatch that is a direct design of this racer on the streets of the US sometime in the near future.