The Vauxhall VX Racing team (VXR) made it a clean sweep of titles in the final round of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Brands Hatch on Sunday as Fabrizio Giovanardi added the drivers’ championship to the manufacturers’ and team wins already secured.
VXR, which is developed by Triple 8 Race Engineering, use the chassis of a Vauxhall Vectra for its touring car. Compared with the road version it costs around 10 times as much, at £250,000; it is half the weight at 1150 kilos, including the driver; and it has 40 extra BHP per litre. It has a sequential gear box and can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds – 1.7 seconds quicker than its road cousin.
The team use Autodesk software for visualisation in design and the company are also a sponsor of the team. Richard Blatcher, head of marketing, said: “We are delighted that VX Racing has yet again achieved the triple crown at the 2008 BTCC and our congratulations go out to the whole team. Triple Eight Race Engineering is a great example of how using Autodesk digital prototyping solutions provide the flexibility for the design and engineering team to work quickly and creatively by developing conceptual models and trialling different scenarios early in the development process. This is a major advantage in the fast-moving and pioneering motorsports industry.”
Ironically, the race in which Giovanardi clinched the drivers’ title was the first in which he had failed to score points in 39 races and over a year. Rival Jason Plato, driving for Seat, needed to finish at least third in that race to keep his chances of stealing the championship away but could only end up fifth after a battle with Giovanardi’s fellow veteran racer and VXR team-mate Matt Neal. Giovanardi finished 14th but was therefore crowned champion with the remaining two races of the day left to run. Plato actually ended up third overall as Matt Jackson of BMW won two races on the day and pipped him to second place.
Giovanardi’s team-mates Matt Neal and the promising young novice Tom Onslow-Cole finished fifth and sixth in the championship, respectably.
The VXR team will now go straight into tweaking the design of the car to be ready for the new season in six months time. Before the beginning of the 2009 season, work will have also begun on a brand new car for 2010. With Vauxhall curtailing production of the Vectra, technical director Kevin Berry will have to choose between its replacement, called the Insignia, and a version of the Astra model.