The new TCR International touring car series is really starting to catch on, with a growing, globe-trotting headline series and up to a dozen local versions on the cards.
All those series need cars, of course, and an increasing number of manufacturers are steeping up to provide them. Opel is the latest, with its Mk.7 Astra-based machine.
It’s a dramatic-looking thing and deliberately so. Maximum width for all TCR cars is set at 1,950mm precisely because they need cartoonish wheelarches to cover their drastically stretched track. Other elements like the front splitter and rear spoiler are standardised across all the cars.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbo engine, serving up 325bhp and 310lb/ft through a six-speed sequential gearbox to the front wheels.
Suspension is fully adjustable and the brakes are huge, with no ABS or ESP. The driver sits ensconced in a fully stripped-out interior, with a full rollcage, racing seat, harness and complicated-looking steering wheel. As per the regs, the car weighs 1,200kg.
Opel worked with Kissling Motorsport to develop the Astra TCR. Testing is due to start this month, with first deliveries scheduled for February.
The Opel Astra TCR will set you back €95,000 (£70,000), plus taxes. That’s not much for a state-of-the-art touring car eligible for an international series. By comparison, an NGTC-spec British Touring Car costs £250,000 – £400,000 to build/buy, and a TC1 World Touring Car would be somewhere north of half a million.
And, unlike those, the Astra is capable of tackling long-distance races like the Nurburgring 24 Hours. It’s pretty astonishing value, really.
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By Only Motors