Vauxhall flew into the record books today as motorsport’s governing bodies confirmed that a recent attempt by two standard Ellesmere Port-built Astras to set and break 18 World and UK speed endurance records had been successful.
The lead Astra 2.0 CDTi 165PS in the attempt covered a total of 3002.44 miles at an average 125.101mph, only stopping for fuel and a single, cautionary change of its Michelin tyres.
In partnership with sister company Opel, Vauxhall attempted two sets of speed endurance records at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire: 12 in the FIA’s* 1600-2000cc forced-induction diesel production car class, and a further six in the MSA’s* 1500-2000cc forced-induction diesel production car class.
All 18 records were achieved, with key records such as the World 1-, 6-, and 12-hour broken conclusively, and the long-standing UK 24-hour smashed by 25mph.
Vauxhall invited a team of twelve drivers comprising nine motoring journalists and three Vauxhall/Opel staff to complete the challenge. Each drove for a total of four hours, split between the two cars.
Despite circulating the two-mile banked circuit 1,500 times, both Astras were reliable and consistently quick, with the fastest two-mile lap achieved in 55.453 seconds at an average speed of 131.852mph – just 2.148mph below the car’s official top speed and no mean feat, given the steep banking on Millbrook High Speed Bowl’s fifth lane.
“We’re over the moon with today’s news,” said Simon Hucknall, Vauxhall’s PR Manager. “This was an important test for the Astra, and it proved that a car with the qualities that most motorists are after – exceptional reliability, a good performance/economy blend and long-distance comfort – can be found at their nearest Vauxhall 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, Michelin’s great support and Millbrook’s efficiency and experience with speed attempts completed the picture and turned an audacious attempt into an unqualified success.”
MSA chairman Alan Gow will present a trophy to Vauxhall on 9 January 2014 at the Autosport International Racing Car Show at the NEC in Birmingham. You can watch a short video of the attempt here.
*FIA – Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile; MSA – Motor Sports Association
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