In the first major reaction to the new set of rules announced by BMP on Tuesday. British Touring Car Championship stalwarts Vauxhall have announce that they will scrap their current Vectra model in favour of the smaller, lighter Astra for next years championship.

Triple Eight have become the first of this season's three works teams to commit to the series next year although Prodrive, who run the factory Ford Mondeo effort, are also expected to make a similar announcement soon concerning a squad of Ford Focus'.

The Astra model won the BTCC title overall in 1989 before the days of Super Touring and Vauxhall have been an integral part of the BTCC scene since the 1970s when Gerry Marshall roamed the circuits with first a team of Vivas and then the mighty 'Big Bertha' Firenza model.

Next years new rules which are set to cut costs dramatically and improve the standards of racing, allow more and more manufacturers to enter the series. Aside from Ford and Vauxhall, other manufacturers linked with an entry next year include Honda, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, Rover and Nissan.

The outgoing Vectra model was deemed too big and heavy for the new rules. It had been racing in the BTCC since 1996 when it replaced the long serving Cavalier, the replacement of the original Astra.