Vauxhall has announced it will be introducing a brand new car for its 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign – the Vauxhall Vectra Hatchback.

The decision will mean extensive development, but the introduction of Super 2000 rules for the new season made that inevitable. In response, the team has been working around the clock building the new model from scratch. Preliminary reviews are cautiously optimistic.

“For the last four months we’ve slept and worked and that’s it!” said VX Racing’s Technical Director, John Morton. “The new regulations have given us a real headache. Now we have to design around standard road-car parts, which means designing a lot of things from scratch.

“Because of that, we can’t predict how some parts are going to behave as we haven’t had any race experience with them, but the Vectra definitely has advantages over the Astra – mainly aerodynamics.”

The Luton-based manufacturer’s decision to use the Vectra was made after extensive trials using the new S2000 rules.

“We’ve tested the various potential models - the Astra, Vectra and even the Corsa,” said VX Racing Brand Manager, Stuart Harris. “Technically, and from an aerodynamic point of view, we decided the Vectra gave us the best possibility.

“2007 is going to be a tough year with another new car to develop and get on stream. The only team who won’t be at a disadvantage is SEAT. Their car is the same as last year and they will benefit from the World Touring Car development, whereas we have to do it all ourselves. We’ve got an incredibly professional and hard-working team, though, and I know they are throwing everything at this project.”

Last month Banbury-based VX Racing confirmed the continuation of Tom Chilton, of Reigate, and Italy’s Fabrizio Giovanardi as the two works drivers.

The new car was unveiled at the Autosport International Show on January 11th.