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Opel OPC Race Camp: Baptism of Fire in The “Green Hell”

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Source and more:

· Exciting finale to world’s first racing driver talent search by Opel
· Reuter and Winkelhock impressed with candidates’ overall performance
· Alain Visser: “Race camp idea and concept have good prospects for the future.”

Twelve months ago, the eight OPC Race Camp finalists were simply engineers, students, sales representatives or dentists. Following their baptism of fire in this year’s 24-hour Nürburgring race, they are now also true racing drivers. They can look back on an exciting year of castings, racing driver trainings and increasingly challenging motorsport races. Professional racing car driver Manuel Reuter, who developed the project with Opel, trained the team from the very first day.

Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer, GM Europe, is enthusiastic about the future of this unique motorsport project. “The concept’s success, from both a motor racing and a public interest perspective, has shown that the Race Camp is a motorsport venture with good prospects for the future. The concept has already become an Opel trademark.” OPC Race Camp Project Leader Manuel Reuter is also pleased with the outcome: “If you look at what our eight candidates have achieved in such a short period of time, there can be no better endorsement for the OPC Race Camp concept. Our 24-hour race experiences also confirmed this. Despite constantly changing weather conditions, our guys were able to clock the fifth or sixth-fastest laps overall. The kind of accident or technical problem we had is just a part of motor racing.” It’s too bad that because of these setbacks we didn’t get to complete the whole 24 hours. Nevertheless, our drivers have everything it takes to continue their participation in motorsport events.” Former Opel works driver Joachim Winkelhock, who also worked on the project, says: “The road our candidates had to take is truly remarkable. We have to remember the fact that these people had almost nothing to do with active motorsport a year ago.” Friends of motorsport that would otherwise experience car racing from the sidelines at best can rest assured: this is just the beginning for the OPC Race Camp.

OPC Race Camp: Motor racing dream began in spring 2007

The idea of the OPC Race Camp was born because the dream of being a racing driver often dissipates due to lack of sponsorship and a need for high investments. Its launch in the spring of 2007 broke new ground for Opel in the world of motorsport. The principle behind the event: instead of engaging experienced and well-known racing drivers in the 24-hour Nürburgring race, offer ambitious drivers with no motorsport experience the opportunity to discover their motor racing talents through a rigorous talent scouting process and numerous qualification stages. Those who have the necessary abilities then receive professional instruction to hone their skills and prepare them for competitive motor racing. Opel provides the professional training, cars and necessary organizational support for the Race Camp.

All expectations for the OPC Race Camp were exceeded when over 18,500 people applied to join. By using a random generator, 500 candidates were invited to come to the Opel Test Center in Dudenhofen. This number was then reduced to just eight through the four talent stages: several racing training exercises, racing driver license tests, competitive racing in the “Nürburgring Circuit Racing Challenge” and “Nürburgring Endurance Championship”, as well as fitness tests and a winter training camp. Following a year’s intensive training by Manuel Reuter and Jockel Winkelhock – both former Le Mans and 24-hour Nürburgring race winners – the grand finale of the first OPC Race Camp took place last weekend. The best eight, five Germans, two Austrians and one Swiss, proved their racing skills and qualified for the ultimate challenge: participation in the legendary 24-hour Nürburgring endurance race.


Opel OPC Race Camp blog at Youtube:
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