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Astra crews smash endurance records

2014-01-13 12:32

RECORD-SETTING ASTRAS: Two standard diesel-powered Opel Astras set new global endurance driving records. Image: OPEL

FIA & MSA confirm Opel has set/broken 18 World and UK records.
 Astra covered nearly 5000km in 24 hours on a banked circuit.
 Zero downtime for lead record car, despite 200km/h average.

LUTON, Engalnd – Vauxhall, the UK arm of Opel, flew into the record books in January 2014 when motorsport’s governing bodies confirmed that two standard UK-built diesel Opel Astras set and broke 18 World and UK speed endurance records.

The lead Astra 2.0 CDTi 123kW in the attempt covered 4832km at an average speed of 200km/h, only stopping for fuel and one cautionary change of its Michelin tyres.

Video: Opel Astra sets endurance records

In partnership with sister company, Opel, Vauxhall attempted two sets of speed endurance records at the Millbrook Proving Ground in England: 12 in the FIA’s* 1600-2000cc turbodiesel production car class six in MSA’s* 1500-2000cc turbodiesel production car class.

All 18 records were achieved, with key records such as the World one, six and 12-hour broken conclusively and the long-standing UK 24-hour smashed by 40km/h.

Vauxhall invited a team of 12 drivers to complete the challenge: nine motoring journalists and three Vauxhall/Opel staff. Each drove for four hours, split between the two cars.

Despite circulating the 3km banked circuit 1500 times, both Astras proved hugely reliable and consistently quick, with the fastest two-mile lap achieved in 55.453sec at an average speed of 221.85km/h, , just 3.46km/h below the car’s official top speed - no mean feat, given the steep banking on Millbrook High-Speed Bowl’s fifth lane.

FAULTLESS DRIVING

Vauxhall’s public relations manager, Simon Hucknall, said: “We”re over the moon with the news. This was an important test for the Astra and proved a car with the qualities that most people are after – exceptional reliability, good performance/economy blend and long-distance comfort – can be found at their Opel showroom.

“But the attempt was also a success thanks to the stamina and skill of our driving team who performed faultlessly through the attempt. The team’s ruthless adherence to FIA rules, sponsors, Michelin and Corbeau’s great support and Millbrook’s efficiency and experience with speed attempts completed the picture and turned an audacious attempt into an unqualified success.”

A presentation by Alan Gow, chairman of the MSA, was made at the Autosport International Racing Car Show at the UK' National Exhibition Centre. Receiving the trophy and certificates for the 18 records were Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s chairman and MD and Volker Strycek, Head of Opel Performance Cars and Opel Motorsport.
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