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Vauxhall to show carbon-fiber 297 hp Astra VXR Extreme

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February 26, 2014

The Astra VXR EXTREME has been derived from last year’s Astra Cup race car that competed in the Nürburgring Endurance Championship

The Astra VXR EXTREME has been derived from last year’s Astra Cup race car that competed in the Nürburgring Endurance Championship

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Start with a Vauxhall/Opel/Chevrolet/Saturn Astra VXR, shed 100 kg by replacing metal with carbon fiber, then pump its 2.0-liter turbo engine to 297 hp (221.5 kW), upgrade the suspension wheels, tires, gearbox and brakes to cope with the stresses, and you have the Astra VXR Extreme ... and it's street legal.

The Astra VXR Extreme has been derived from last year’s Astra Cup race car that competed in the Nürburgring Endurance Championship, with much of the knowledge gained in racing under such extreme conditions lavished on the aptly named Extreme.

The use of significant amounts of carbon fiber has relieved the VXR of 100 kg (220 lb), which is remarkable in itself as the VXR weighs 1,230 kg (2,712 lb), and the VXR Extreme weighs 1,130 kg, so that's a sizable percentage of body weight to shed.

More importantly though, it's where that weight has been shed that has helped the Extreme become far more stable when changing direction. The steel roof of the VXR weighs 9.3 kg (20.5 lb), while the Extreme's carbon roof weighs 2.6 kg (5.7 lb). The wings are made of aluminum and weigh 800 g (1.8 lb) each, instead of 2.2 kg (4.9 lb) for the steel units they replace.

Carbon is also used for the rear wing, the diffuser, front spoiler, bonnet, suspension cross-bracing, engine cover, wheels and rear wheelhouse ventilation, and with many of those components in the top half of the car, the center of gravity has been lowered significantly, in addition to the obvious improvements in power-to-weight.

The Extreme’s 2.0-liter turbo petrol engine employs direct injection and variable camshaft phasing, and drives through a six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential.

The brakes are Brembo six-piston calipers gripping 370 mm discs up front, while the high-performance, 245/35, 19-inch tires, were developed specifically for the Extreme. Suspension damping is also adjustable.

The Extreme's interior is, as one might suspect, spartan. The rear seats have been removed and a safety roll bar installed. The Extreme also gets the full race interior with Recaro racing seats, a six-point harness from Schroth and a carbon-fiber-reinforced, suede-covered steering wheel.

Vauxhall plans a low-volume production run for the Extreme, pending public reaction at the Geneva Motor Show which opens eight days from now.

Source: Vauxhall

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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4 Comments

I see some great rallying videos in this car's future.

Michael Wilson

Looks a lot safer and more fuel efficient ;)

duh3000

I don't think we can get an Astra VXR Extreme here in the USA as Saturn is no longer in business and Chevy does not bring it in. Looks like it would be one hell of a ride.

Jim Pelkey

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but in my mind there is no comparison between the current Opel range and the similar sized Chev models. The Opels just looks and feels so much more refined.

I wish them best of luck.

Riaanh
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