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Opel aiming to build 30 TCR cars by May 2016

Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott has revealed that the German manufacturer are aiming to have the first ten Astra TCR cars ready by mid-February 2016, with a further 20 chassis complete by May.

The new Astra was revealed for the first time during a TCR event in Mettet, Belgium where Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott gave his first in-depth interview about the new project.

“We plan that we will have built ten cars by the middle of February,” explained Schrott, who has received more than 70 requests for the new car. “Then, if everything works like we would like it to, we will have another twenty by May.

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“Our approach is to have about three cars running internationally, then the next focus is on the German market. After this, we will try to have the cars visible in all other markets in Europe.

“Believe me we will try very hard to have the next bunch of cars ready as soon as possible when the European series start in the dedicated countries.”

Schrott revealed that the car on display was a prototype model which will be used for aerodynamic testing, before the marque seeks a warmer climate to continue the testing of the car.

“We have to be flexible [with testing]. It depends on the weather, because we tried to start this programme in Germany but then we have to go to southern Europe.

“First of all what we are doing is the aerodynamics. We will show this car at the Nürburgring but then we need this car and start again with the aerodynamic work and go into the testing phase.

“The car will be priced at €95,000 excluding VAT, but we have included a sequential gearbox, paddle shifting and we have the safe fuel tank already with a 100 litre [capacity], so already the package is very competitive.”

Opel Astra TCR

Schrott praised WSC CEO Marcello Lotti for the concept which he has built up over the past year, with the business model for touring car racing having come along at the right time for the resurrected Opel Motorsport department, which has only been around in its current existence since 2013.

“For several years we have been fighting for a turnaround – this is the main focus of the company. You need the right product, you need the right market and everything must come together. For us, it means that in motorsport we have a dedicated budget, we have to be very efficient, and so we stick to our roots.

“This concept is kind of tailor-made to our own perspective. The idea is always to enable our customers to enjoy high-level racing at affordable costs. This is currently our focus. While there are no further plans to take further steps in the next two or three years, we are happy that we can run this programme.”

Schrott also revealed to TouringCars.Net that whilst the manufacturer will not be racing the car themselves, as per the TCR concept, he hoped for at least one car to run in the iconic Opel Motorsport colours in the TCR International Series.

“Of course, it’s not factory supported and this is super important to us. What we can do is build and develop the car for a really efficient budget. Then we try to help the customers with technical and logistical support – this is important to us. The goal is to provide our customers from the very beginning with a high quality and very competitive car.

“Of course there are markets like the German market where we would like to use this engagement for our brand. This is what we have been thinking about – we have a disclosed partnership with the ADAC and also internationally we are thinking that we will run one car in the Opel colours.

“It’s all about communications and marketing at the end and we have to get the press out of it of this engagement, also for the brand.

“We see a really bright future for TCR if they stick to the concept like they announced. I see a good chance for our brand as well.”

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