Opel pledges four Vectras

Opel has committed to run at least four examples of its new Vectra GTS five-door fastback saloon model in next year's DTM, and work on the car is already well underway at its OPC DTM Center

Opel pledges four Vectras

Suspension components for the Vectra GTS V8, installed in the Astra V8 Coupé, have successfully passed initial tests performed with test driver Marcel Tiemann at the Misano and Vallelunga race tracks in Italy. The roll-out of the Vectra GTS V8 is scheduled for early February.

"We're completely on schedule at the moment," said motorsport director Volker Strycek at the Essen Motorshow. "Design and aerodynamics are currently the focal areas of our development work, the preparation of the first vehicle is planned to start in early January. We're going to prepare at least four new Vectra GTS V8s and are determined to fight for victories in the 2004 DTM. The Astra V8 Coupé, too, will be fielded in the series. We're continuing to pursue our objective of competing with a total of seven cars."

Which drivers Opel opts to place in its Vectras is undecided, however. Marque favourite Manuel Reuter, last year's top man Peter Dumbreck and recent high-profile signing Marcel Fassler should be guaranteed new cars. Former champion Laurent Aiello is waiting in the wings, while the likes of Alain Menu and Timo Scheider, both long-time Opel DTM racers, will be sweating on its decision.

Toyota F1 test driver Ricardo Zonta and Ferrari tester Luciano Burti have been evaluated for the programme, along with several other well-qualified drivers such as Thomas Jager, Frank Stippler and Wolf Henzler. Heinz-Harald Frentzen is also understood to be in discussion with the team.

"We will select the drivers for our 2004 DTM line-up very carefully," added Strycek. "We're talking to our previous pilots as well as some new drivers, including some from Formula 1."

Mercedes has yet to confirm how many four-door C-Class cars it will build next year, but it is likely to go for four. Audi, meanwhile, has committed to build six new A4s.

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