Vauxhall awaits confirmation of endurance records for production Astra

Article by Anita Panait, on October 25, 2013

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.

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.”

According to Vauxhall, the engines equipped on the Astra are powerful but efficient. What this means is that while the engines are able to deliver excellent power, they remain to have low CO2 emissions. Overall, there are 8 engines offered for the new Astra with outputs ranging from a low of 87 PS and all the way to 180 PS. However, when compared to the previous Astra range, the efficiency is better in the new versions and proof is that the emissions have been lowered by 13.3%.

With diesel engines projected to comprise around half of Astra sales, the range will include the base model of the 1.7-liter engine capable of 110 PS and up to the 2.0-liter engine that can deliver 160 PS. When paired to a manual transmission, these same engines reveal emissions not exceeding 129 g/km. On the inside, the flowing forms mirror that of the bodywork.

This particular theme signifies an important change as it relates to the quality and the premium design of models in the compact class. The interior utilizes that recurring wing and blade theme first seen with the Insignia. Under the new generation though, this has been done in an advanced and fresh manner. By making sure there is ambient lighting, it results in the cabin having a better feel when it comes to quality.

A good example is the lighting points that frame the gearshift surround. There are also lights on the region on top of the center console and inside the recesses of the door handle. These features though will depend mainly on the trim level. A feature in the Astra that is truly unmatched in its segment is the wide array of interesting cabin storage solutions. In fact, some of them have already been patented.

Another reason why the cabin of the Astra is one of the best is that it does not focus simply on the size of the compartment. There are a number of bespoke storage areas, all of which have been designed to store around 20 common items drivers and occupants often bring to their car like a 1.5-liter drinking bottle or even an MP3 player.

Topics: vauxhall, production

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