Having launched the new 2016 Opel Astra hatchback at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, Opel announced plans to develop a new Astra-based race car for the TCR series, too. The motorsport-spec car was unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September, confirming the brand’s entry in next year’s competition.

If you’re not familiar with the TCR series, it’s a new touring car championship that debuted in 2015. Promoted as a cost-effective spin-off of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the TCR series is sanctioned by the FIA and based on a three-pillar concept that includes national and continental championships along with the global TCR International Series. All three tiers function under the same technical regulations.

Though it has already developed an Astra for the new series, Opel wants the improved aerodynamics and chassis of the redesigned model to form the basis of a more potent racer to compete against the successful TCR-spec Seat Leons and Volkswagen Golfs.

"Touring car racing has always been an important part of Opel. The philosophy of the new TCR series corresponds to our idea of customer racing. We want to give ambitious privately owned teams a platform for exciting sport at reasonable costs," said Opel Group CMO Tina Müller.

Updated 10/15/2015: Opel dropped the official details and images on its new Atra TCR racer. The model will be available starting February 2016 at a price of €95,000 (about $105,000 as of 10/15/2015).

Continue reading for the full story.

  • 2016 Opel Astra TCR
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    330
  • Torque @ RPM:
    302
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Opel Astra TCR
- image 650814
2016 Opel Astra TCR
- image 650811
2016 Opel Astra TCR
- image 650807

The official images released by Opel depict a beefed-up hatchback based on the new Astra. The vehicle features all of the visual improvements added in 2015, enhanced by an aggressive body kit that includes redesigned bumpers, a vented engine hood, widened fenders and side skirts, and a big rear wing atop the tailgate. All these improvements make the new TCR racer a lot more menacing to look at than the previous model.

Interior

2016 Opel Astra TCR
- image 650810

Unlike the exterior, the interior has nothing in common with the road car, except for maybe the door panels. Everything, from the dashboard, the passenger seat and rear bench, the carpeting, and the center console were ditched in order to save weight. The standard steering wheel was replaced by an Alcantara-wrapped unit with race-specific controls, while the standard driver seat made way for a bucket seat with a five-point harness. A full, FIA-approved roll cage was added as well.

Drivetrain

2016 Opel Astra TCR
- image 650820

Powering the Astra TCR is a race-spec, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine generating 330 PS (325 horsepower) and 420 Nm (310 pound-feet) of torque. While the horsepower rating is right on par with TCR requirements, the torque figure sits a tad above the "maximum around 410 Nm (302 pound-feet)" published by the governing body, but I guess "around" is permissive enough to allow eight extra pound-feet of twist, which is odd.

Anyway, power travels to the front wheels through an updated Drexler six-speed sequential gearbox and mechanical limited-slip differential. The transmission is operated via paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

The new Astra TCR also features a fully adjustable chassis and Opel’s updated damper technology. Like all cars competing in the TCR and WTCC series, the German hatch doesn’t have electric assistance system like ABS and EBD. Fuel is stored in a 100-liter tank.

Prices

The Astra TCR costs €95,000 (around $108,220) plus VAT, which makes the race car more than five time more expensive than the base Astra. Deliveries will begin in February 2016, about a month before the season begins.

Competition

Volkswagen Golf TCR

2016 Volkswagen Golf TCR High Resolution Exterior
- image 636631

The TCR series is currently contested by five automakers, including Volkswagen, which developed a TCR-spec version of the Golf. Also powered by a 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 330 turbocharged horses and 302 pound-feet of torque, the Golf GTR uses a six-speed DSG with paddle shifters and an electronic differential. Other competitors include the Seat Leon, Audi TT, Honda Civic, and the Ford Focus.

Read more about the 2016 Volkswagen Golf TCR here.

Conclusion

2016 Opel Astra TCR Wallpaper quality
- image 650819

Though it has five cars on the grid, Opel has yet to make a significant impact in the new TCR series, currently dominated by the Seat Leons and Honda Civics. This is probably why the Germans are eager to replace the current 2014 Opel Astra OPC Extreme race car with a better version that’s likely lighter, faster and more reliable. But that’s something we’ll find out more about once the 2016 TCR season is underway.

  • Leave it
    • Tough competition

Press Release

Opel took full advantage of the international TCR (Touring Car Racing) presentation at the circuit Jules Tacheny in Mettet, Belgium, showing their new customer racing touring car for the first time. The Opel Astra TCR combines ultra-modern racing technology with an effective safety concept while simultaneously remaining close to production. It enables the Opel teams to compete in short and long distance races – such as the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring – with a technically unchanged vehicle.

2016 Opel Astra TCR
- image 650807

The 5-door Astra is powered by a highly efficient two-liter turbocharged engine that will deliver 330 hp and maximum torque of 420 Nm (both determined by the “Balance of Performance” concept), thus ensuring that vehicle with a curb weight of 1,200 kilograms has enough propulsion. This power is transferred to the front wheels via a sequential, six-speed racing transmission with the paddle shift located on the steering wheel. Adhesion is established via a twin-disc sinter metal clutch. An automated double declutching system creates stability when shifting down. The racing car is decelerated by 378 mm brake discs and 6-piston brake calipers at the front along with 265 mm brake discs and 2-piston brake calipers at the back. The driver can modulate the braking balance from the cockpit.

The chassis is fully adjustable and comes with ultra-modern damper technology. The efficient aerodynamics, which include an adjustable front splitter and rear spoiler that for cost reasons are standard components and identical on all TCR vehicles, are also relevant for the vehicle set-up. Electronic assistance systems such as ABS and ESP are not permitted.

In order to ensure that the Opel customer teams can use their Astra TCR for a number of years without making any technical adjustments, the car already comes with features that the International Automobile Association (FIA) will only declare mandatory from the 2017 season such as the 100-liter fuel safety tank.

Opel’s commitment in the Touring Car Racing Series marks the continuation of a long and successful tradition in touring car racing. Customer racing has always been a key pillar in Opel’s motorsport commitment in many countries across Europe alongside factory-backed participation in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) or national championships such as the German Supertouring Championship (STW). The concept of the TCR matches this philosophy perfectly – with powerful, optically impressive close-to-production touring cars available at affordable prices, the TCR meets the current requirements of the interested customer teams.

2016 Opel Astra TCR
- image 650808

The TCR also offers Opel the perfect platform to present its new volume model in a racing environment in the involved markets. The various national championships, obviously including the new German TCR series (ADAC TCR Germany), which will be staged under the overall control of Opel’s longtime partner ADAC, and the European championship are an ideal playing field for Opel and its customer teams. The three-tier concept – national and continental championships along with the global TCR International Series – ensures that customer teams can compete worldwide with the same car.

The Astra TCR is being developed in close cooperation with Opel’s longstanding partner Kissling Motorsport from Bad Münstereifel. Initial performance checks are set to take place before the end of October. A limited amount of Opel Astra TCRs will be delivered to selected customer teams from February of next year. The race-ready vehicle will cost a competitive €95,000 (plus VAT).

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