The North West 200 will benefit from significant investment in 2013 after Vauxhall Motors was confirmed as the new title sponsor of the event.

The announcement was made at the official launch of the famous international road race in Belfast on Tuesday.

The automotive manufacturer replaces Relentless Energy Drink at the helm of the Ulster road race, which will take place on Saturday, May 18, next year.

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In a new development, a third race will be added to the Thursday evening programme ahead of Saturday's main bill.

Three races will now be run following final practice on Thursday, May 16, including the first Superstock, Supertwin and Supersport races.

A five-race programme has been scheduled for the main race day, including two Superbike races plus the second Superstock, Supersport and Supertwin events.

Welcoming Vauxhall on board, NW200 Event Director, Mervyn Whyte, said: "We are delighted to be working with Vauxhall Motors.

"As an organisation and a team they understand the event and share our passion for not only the success of the North West but the desire to further develop the event into something very exciting and new for 2013."

Vauxhall sponsored the inaugural Supertwin race at the North West 200 in May, which was won by Ryan Farquhar on his KMR Kawasaki.

Guests at the launch in Belfast included John McGuinness, Michael Rutter, William Dunlop, Lee Johnston, Michael Dunlop, Alastair Seeley and newcomer David Johnson.

Seeley clinched a hat-trick earlier this season at the North West, with McGuinness victorious in the Superbike class while Rutter added his 13th victory in the second Superstock race.

The event was marred by the death of Scotsman Mark Buckley in the second Superstock race.