VXR Power Fest!

It seemed¬†suitable¬†to hold a celebration of Vauxhall Racing at Silverstone which¬†eventually re-affirmed itself as the home of British motorsport, similar to General Motor’s¬†meandering ¬†journey¬†through the¬†mire to re-direct¬†itself towards a¬†clearer¬†path. Branding is¬†important as is promotion¬†so the boldly entitled ‘VXR Power Festival’ also has¬†a national tour¬†of events to¬†primarily advertise the lairy and wayward¬†Corsa and Astra¬†as well as the more restrained Insignia.¬†

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The keen¬†motorist¬†could actually drive in Paul Swift’s precision test. Three attempts by myself at completing the course of carefully placed cones seemed to be well received by some, even though I selected third gear instead of first towards the finish line¬†before enunciating one four letter expletive. I assumed that Paul’s radio mic was switched off…

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I¬†appeared to have understood¬†the graceful art of J-turning¬†by¬†accelerating in reverse to fully lock the steering wheel¬†to allow¬†torque to arc you through 180 degrees,¬†less effort than doing a three point turn! More commendable was that chargeable¬†activities like this as well as Caterham’s power sliding went¬†to the charity,¬†‘Help¬†for Heroes’; an immediacy and relevance felt when you heard¬†one maimed soldier talking about his experience¬†at war.

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VXR promotion wasn’t limited to adults either, with karting, trampolining and T-shirt making for the younger ones to introduce and adhere¬†them to the brand,¬†viewed separately¬†from Vauxhall judging by the amount of online forums devoted to ECU re-maps and trackdays. For the sentimentally inclined, there were an array of Vauxhalls from the muscular Lotus Carlton to a ‘Life on Mars’ era Chevette to show evolution towards joyriding Astra GTE to the less ostentatious VXR.

IMG_6360_edit[1]Old Vauxhall grilleIMG_6246_edit[1]IMG_6263_edit[1] Two Vauxhalls from driver's corner

For the celeb hunter, I spotted Fifth Gear presenter¬†and British touring car¬†driver, Jason Plato with his feet up in the canteen whilst Melissa the snapper identified Ricky Whittle who apparently showed his physique in something called ‘Strictly come dancing’. Can you tell that I haven’t renewed my television licence? For Radio 1 listeners, the distinctive tones of ‘Comedy Dave’ aka Dave Vitty were heard whilst¬†Paul Swift parallel parked.¬†

IMG_6397[1] Russ Swift parallel park (2)IMG_6399[1]IMG_6402[1]IMG_6403[1]

Judging by attendees and online devotees, the Power Fest achieved its aim of brand¬†awareness¬†with respect to Vauxhall for supporting such a valid charity; just a shame that the timing of the¬†festival (on a bank holiday) and the weather weren’t ideal. Isn’t that ironic?

Words are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou 

Photos are copyright of Melissa Sutcliffe

August 2010

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