Back in August we told you about Formula 1 and motorsports coach Rob Wilson, who uses Vauxhalls to teach some of the biggest names in racing how to be faster around the track. He’s been using his Astras on the track since last April, and while they’ve handled the abuse remarkably well, he’ll soon be swapping them out for the lighter new-generation Astra.
In the time Wilson has owned his current Astras, they’ve gone through 400 replacement tires, 30 sets of front brake pads, 10 sets of rear brakes pads and 10 front brake discs. The cars have also completed 7,250 laps of Wilson’s Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground where he teaches (equivalent to 16,000 track miles) 43,000 hard braking maneuvers and 95,000 manual gearshifts.
“I often have a driver’s race engineer in the back seat and everyone has commented how comfortable the cars are, and how predictable and stable their handling is,” Wilson said of the Astras. “The cars have an unbelievably hard time out on our track, so I need to know that they’re not going to break. I have tried other makes of car, but they’ve always suffered some kind of breakdown. I’m really looking forward to spending next year in the new Astras.”
Wilson has placed an order for three Vauxhall Astra SRi models – two with the 1.6-liter CDTI engine and another with the optional 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. Wilson was able to shave a full three seconds off of his lap time driving the new car compared to the old car, a result made possible by the new Astra’s 440 lbs of weight loss.