Vauxhall is awaiting confirmation from the FIA and MSA that it was successful in its attempt to get a total of 12 World and six National Speed Endurance Records using a standard production Astra. On October 5, just a little past 4pm, the first of two Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi hatches arrived on the starting line on Millbrook Proving Ground’s High Speed Bowl.
The Astras came back 24 hours later after covering nearly 3,000 miles at an average, yet-to-be ratified, speed of 125mph. The Astras were driven by 12 drivers -- nine motoring journalists and three Vauxhall and Opel staff -- each driving a total of four hours, split between the two cars.
The Astras were required to change tires once, and no engine oil was consumed. The Astras completed 1,500 laps of the two-mile circuit with only 22 minutes of downtime, in addition to refueling and driver changes.
The record attempt was a culmination of a year’s work by Vauxhall and Opel to challenge two sets of speed endurance records -- in FIA’s 1600-2000cc forced-induction diesel production car class and the MSA’s* 1500-2000cc forced-induction diesel production car class.
While world records had been logged for 1, 6 and 12 hours, the 24-hour target has yet to be breached. Likewise, national time and distance records remained standing for over two decades, with the 24-hour record set at 100.2mph since 1992.
The record attempt was primarily aimed at proving the Astra’s exceptional reliability and driveability in extreme conditions. Vauxhall PR Manager Simon Hucknall remarked that they selected the 165PS 2.0 CDTi Astra for the attempt because of its mix of strong performance and economy. He added that the Astra needed to be ultra-reliable, predictable and safe for drivers to be to be subjected to “24 hours of flat-out driving on the challenging top lane of Millbrook’s High Speed Bowl.”