Vauxhall furious over additional weight penalty

Vauxhall Motorsport chief Mike Nicholson has hit out at British Touring Car Championship organisers for ordering an additional 30-kilo weight penalty on all its Astras from Mondello Park on June 17 onwards

Vauxhall furious over additional weight penalty

Vauxhall currently holds the top four positions in the series and has won every race thus far, prompting series organisers TOCA to add the extra weight. But Nicholson feels it is unfair that Vauxhall and its work race team Triple Eight is being victimised for doing its job properly.

"We're not happy about it," Nicholson told Autosport.com. "We've been the number one supporter of this championship from the year dot. Our car doesn't have a technical advantage over the opposition, it is a front-wheel drive BTC Touring car, plain and simple. If every other manufacturer in this championship did their job right then they would be just as quick as us.

"We go racing to show that we have the best car and the best drivers. It's taken us a long time to get to this point, but it seems our investment is going to the wall. What happened when Ford, Nissan or Renault dominated the series? Nobody said stick some extra weight on to slow them down then."

Nicholson is also worried about the safety implications of the move, after his cars ran into brake problems at the recent Oulton Park round.

For Silverstone, the works car of Yvan Muller and James Thompson's Egg-backed Astra are both already carrying the maximum 60kg of 'success ballast'. Should they not shed any lead for Mondello, both would carry 90kg of added weight at the Irish track.

"At Oulton, our brakes - which are supplied by TOCA, so there's nothing we can do to them - were right on the edge. That constitutes a safety issue, but there was no consultation period before this decision was made."

He also pointed out that the company had taken a very dim view of the situation, adding: "We don't believe we're doing anything wrong. Vauxhall Motors is taking a very serious view on this. We haven't yet confirmed our participation in next year's championship."

Series bosses had requested the extra weight be added for this Saturday's Silverstone night race, but the regulations for the series state that a 10 day period must be allowed between changes and their implementation.

As from Silverstone this weekend, the system of awarding success ballast in the BTC Touring class has also been revised. As per 2000, only the top three finishers will now receive ballast, as opposed to the top five who currently receive a weight penalty.

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