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GM-owned Opel hits the track with a 330-horsepower Astra family hatchback

General Motors’ Germany-based Opel division has introduced a new race car based on the 2016 Astra, a family-friendly hatchback sold in Europe that fights in the same arena as the Volkswagen Golf.

Designed exclusively for the track, the Astra Touring Car Racing (TCR) is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 330 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Those figures sound low for a car that was born to race — Ford sells a Taurus with nearly 300 ponies on tap, after all — but it’s important to keep in mind that the city-sized Astra TCR tips the scale at just 2,600 pounds thanks to a long list of weight-saving measures.

A six-speed sequential gearbox controlled by large shift paddles sends the turbo four’s power to the front wheels. Opel hasn’t published performance specifications yet because its engineers are still putting the final touches on the drivetrain, but the Astra TCR is fast enough to require six-piston brake calipers up front.

To complement the extra power, Opel has fitted the Astra with a deep front bumper that incorporates an adjustable splitter, alloy wheels tucked under exceptionally wide fender flares and a huge wing attached to the trunk lid. The grille and the lights on both ends look like they were plucked directly from the Opel parts bin.

Opel expects it will be ready to begin testing the Astra TCR before the end of the month. If everything goes according to plan, the German firm’s next race car will go on sale in the not-too-distant future with a base price of €95,000 (nearly $110,000) before taxes and options are factored in.

The first deliveries to customer teams are tentatively scheduled for next February. In its home country, the Opel Astra TCR will be eligible to compete in the German Touring Car championship.

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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