The Best Opel Racing Cars from 110 Years of Motorsport History

2013-08-07

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Opel Grand Prix Race Car


  • Rallye world champion: Opel Ascona 400 with Walter Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer
  • Touring car champion: ITC winner Opel Calibra V6 piloted by Manuel Reuter
  • Vintage heroes: Rennwagen 1903, Grand Prix 1913, “Green Monster” from 1914

Rüsselsheim.  The spotlight is on 20 stars from 110 years of Opel motorsport history. Be it Grand Prix, Rallye or Touring cars – the brand with the classic Opel lettering and later with the blitz on the grille has been a major player in motorsports for over one century. Currently the Opel Astra OPC Cup is competing in the VLN Endurance Championship on the Nürburgring Nordschleife and the ADAM Rallye Cup is in the field at the ADAC Rallye Masters.

Opel’s glorious motorsport history began with the legendary Opel Rennwagen 1903. The London-Brighton veteran already featured a Cardan shaft to the rear in the early days of motorsports. Just ten years later a successful Grand Prix racing car already boasted technical highlights such as overhead camshafts with vertical-shaft drive and four valves per cylinder. This was outstanding Opel technology from 1913 – already enabling speeds of up to 170 km/h even back then. And only one more year of development transformed the Opel Rennwagen into a displacement giant with 12.3 liters volume, 260 hp and a phenomenal top speed of 228 km/h. This speed was unheard of at the time and was achieved by the “Green Monster” mainly during beach races with endless straight courses.

In contrast, the key term in rallye sports is “the curve”. And the master of the spectacular drift is the Opel Ascona – especially with Walter Röhrl behind the wheel. The exceptional driver won the European Championship in an Ascona A in 1974 (with co-pilot Jochen Berger) and the Rallye World Championship in 1982 in an Ascona 400 with Christian Geistdörfer.

Opel has also made an impression in circuit racing in recent history. The star of the brand’s ensemble is doubtlessly the Cliff Calibra. Manuel Reuter won the International Touring Car Championship in 1996 with the all-wheel drive class 1 touring car. The ITC emerged from the DTM (German Touring Car Championship) and grew into a global competition. The Opel Calibra V6 dominated the competitors from Alfa Romeo and Mercedes that were equipped with Formula 1 technology.

The 1960s and 1970s were the glory days of the tuners, who turned sporty series production cars into fabulous racing cars. The stars of this era were the Opel Commodore A from Klaus Steinmetz, two Opel GTs from Virgilio Conrero as well as the most powerful Opel GT ever with 280 hp from engine king Ulrich Gerent.

Vehicle Profiles

Opel Ascona B 400

Walter Röhrl and co-driver Christian Geistdörfer won the 1982 World Rallye Championship with the Rallye Ascona 400, beating strong all-wheel drive competition ...

Opel Ascona B 400 – “Safari Winner” 1983

In 1982, Walter Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer were World Rallye Champions with an identical Ascona 400 ...

Opel Ascona B, Group 2

In 1979, Opel works driver Jochi Kleint and his co-driver Gunther Wanger won the European Rallye Championship with this Ascona after a challenging season ...

Opel Astra V8 Coupé

From May 30 to June 1, 2003, Opel entered two, 500 hp Astra V8 Coupés in the International ADAC 24-hour race on the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife ...

Opel Calibra V6 Class 1 – ITC Winner 1996

In 1996, Opel celebrated its biggest victory to date in touring car racing when Manuel Reuter’s black ’Cliff Calibra’ won the International Touring Car Championship (ITC), which had evolved from the DTM ...

Opel GT Conrero - Year of manufacture: 1972

In 1965, the Opel GT made its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the first design study from a German automaker – the beginning of a wonderful passion ...

Opel GT Conrero - Year of manufacture: 1970

In 1965, the Opel GT made its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the first design study from a German automaker – the beginning of a wonderful passion ...

Opel GT – Kris Ruelens

The Opel GT began its career in 1965 as the ’Experimental GT’ at the Frankfurt Motor Show. By 1968, its time as a production car had come: one of the most exciting coupés on the market was instantly a dream come true for many sports cars drivers ...

Opel ADAM Rallye Cup

The Opel rallye sport promotional concept can be described as a four-step pyramid which offers outstanding development opportunities for talented junior drivers from its base entry level through to its most advanced stage ...

Opel Astra OPC Cup

Touring car racing is also Opel territory. The company has celebrated a great many successes, especially on the brand’s ‘home track’, the Nürburgring Nordschleife ...

Opel Grand Prix Race Car

Prior to World War I, Opel  one of the leading racing car manufacturers in Europe  developed a new racing car generation for the French Grand Prix, a forerunner of today’s Formula One races ...

Opel Racing Car 1903

The basis for this race car, an Opel 10/12 hp, was the first fully independently developed Opel design ...

Opel 12.3 Liter Racing Car

In 1914 the most formidable vehicle in the company’s history was built in the Rüsselsheim plant ...

Opel Rekord C ‘Black Widow’ – Special Touring Car, Group 5

Opel Design Center 1967/68: a secret project is born when Anatole Lapine and other employees, all motorsport enthusiasts, decide to develop a racing car based on the Rekord C ...

Opel Commodore A Steinmetz

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many motorsport enthusiasts transformed their Opel Commodores into racing cars for the track ...

Opel OPC X-Treme – Super Sports Car Study

Opel’s super sports car study, OPC X-Treme, made its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in 2001 ...

Contacts