The works Vauxhall squad in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has announced its line-up with former Alfa Romeo WTCC star Fabrizio Giovanardi and youngest-ever BTCC race winner joining the Triple Eight Engineering-run squad.

Giovanardi, who found himself on the driver market after Italian marque Alfa Romeo decided they would not be contesting the 2006 WTCC with an official entry, finished in third place in the championship this season, behind BMW duo Dirk Muller and newly crowned champion, Andy Priaulx.

"For sure I'm really excited about joining VX Racing," said Giovanardi of the announcement. "Personally, I think they are the best team in the UK series. James Thompson, my team-mate at Alfa Romeo in the world touring cars, who used to drive for VX Racing, has also told me good things about the team."

The VX Racing squad spent 2005 developing the latest Astra which replaced the all-conquering previous model and for the coming season Giovanardi certainly has his work cut out.

"I think next season will be good, it will be an experience and also a challenge," he says. "It will be difficult for me at first because, other than Silverstone and Donington, I don't know many of the British circuits. But I am a professional driver and I can learn quickly."

New circuits maybe, but Giovanardi has raced some of the existing stars in the series before. "I'm feeling confident and although it is a new series for me, it is still touring cars and I have raced against top drivers Matt Neal and Jason Plato before."

Alongside the Italian is Tom Chilton, who ran a partial campaign with Arena Motorsports in the BTCC last season after the MG DTM deal fell through.

"It's fantastic joining VX Racing," says Chilton of the announcement. "My first drive in the touring cars was in a Vauxhall so I'm looking forward to driving the Astra Sport Hatch.

"Ian Harrison (team principal) is a great bloke and he has a good set of guys at the team. I'm really pleased to have Fabrizio as my team-mate as I think he's a good driver, one of the best. I'm looking forward to working with him to get a good comparison of how I'm doing."


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