The Triple Eight Vauxhall team ran at Vallelunga, in Italy this week. It was the first time the team had run the cars to the 2001 British Touring Car Championship rules.

Vauxhall drivers Yvan Muller and Jason Plato were there to put the two cars through the paces. Both drivers were lapping four seconds slower than a Super Touring Alfa (similar spec to BTCC last year), and 3.6 seconds faster than a Super Production BMW.

Both drivers despite thinking the new rules would distract from the excitement of racing in the BTCC were said to be impressed according to team boss Derick Warwick.

The ex-F1 driver gave up racing three years ago. This year there will be six Vauxhalls in the BTCC and three Peugeots.

The first round of the championship is on April 15-16 at Brands Hatch (Indy).