The Peugeot 406 Coupe destined for this year's new-look British Touring Car Championship was shown for the first time in Birmingham today [Friday].

The car, resplendent in the now familiar bright yellow livery of British Peugeots, was unveiled at the annual Autosport International exhibition at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, not far from the stand displaying the car likely to be its main opposition in teh re-vamped BTCC - the Vauxhall Astra Coupe. Both cars take on a menacing appearance thanks to rules which allow for aggressive body styling.

The 406 Coupe marks a return to BTCC action for Peugeot, following the French marque's withdrawal in 1998 after several uncompetitive campaigns with the ageing 405 model. In the meantime, the company has concentrated on building its rallying reputation, but also competed in the National Saloon Cup - which acted as a forerunner to the new touring car formula - with teh smaller 306.

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The BTCC campaign will be overseen by touring car veteran Vic Lee's VLR squad, which field three cars for established star MAtt Neal, returning BTCC favourite Steve Soper and newcomer Dan Eaves.