During the 1990s, there was a particular type of car know as the ‘rep-mobile’. They were family cars which were often driven by businessmen and sales representatives – four doors, five seats and a mid sized engine. Every major manufacturer, from Ford to Volvo had one in their range and they could be seen pounding the motorways of every major European country. However, very few people would have described them as exciting. But as soon as they hit the track, everything changed.
The British Touring Car championship had been around since late 50s, but really hit it’s stride in the 90s with the introduction of the Super Touring class of saloon car. Whilst the cars still looked almost identical to their showroom counterparts (although with some brightly coloured paint jobs), and running a highly tuned 2 litre engine, the cars were stripped down and light weight. The cars sat very low to the ground and to accommodate the big racing wheels there was very little clearance under the wheel arches. This gave the cars and aggressive, racey look which was mirrored by the bumper to bumper on track action.
Drivers from around the world flocked to the series, attracted by the close racing and exciting tracks. The racing, whilst officially non contact, allowed some push and shove due to the solid nature of the cars, and the crowds loved the physical aspects of the competition. As the series became more competitive, the costs increased. When Vauxhall first entered the class with it’s Cavalier, it cost £60,000 to build the car. By the time the Vectra was competing, the technology had become more advanced and the cars cost over £250,000, forcing many teams out due to budget limitations. It was ultimately replaced with a much cheaper formula.
The Vectra in the colouring page ran from 1997 to 2000 and was prepared by the world famous Triple Eight racing team. At the hands of drivers including Derek Warick, Jason Plato and Yvan Muller. However, for most BTCC fans the most famous Vauxhall driver is John Cleland, a Scottish race ace who took his Cavalier to the ’95 drivers championship and notched up many great results in this Vectra.