How to lose your license with a smile?
Opel Corsa OPC Nürburgring Edition 2013
Doping is one of the biggest problems in nearly every top-sport today. Athletics are the most affected that's why the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and sport officials have been fighting for many years now to put it to rights. This is still a cat and mouse game however, between the good guys and the chemists and it will always be until we set up records just to try to break them.
You might think that this is all right, but don't forget: this procrastination costs a lot of money, time, and leave a bad taste in the mouth of the fans and the kids, especially when their hero is caught in a doping scandal with his pants down, sometimes literally. There's a solution though: let them snort, inject, swallow whatever they want. Let the athletes, the cyclists and other healthy people ruin they life just for those damn seconds and meters if they want to, but at the end – when they receive their medals – give one for the chemist. It's as much his success as theirs. So, at every ceremony a man in white coat and with glasses stands beside a humanoid with tiny brains and big muscles and he shares the fame. Simple, isn't it?
I know it sounds weird, just as weird as the statement that the best hot-hatch in its class is an Opel Corsa (Vauxhall in some countries). The thing is that in this case all the credits go for chemist and not the mean athlete. More precisely: for a small group of enthusiasts in the Opel Performance Center.
It started out as a great, automotive deception. A tricky move to get more money out of the customer's pocket: take the middling handy Corsa OPC (VXR), put some Nordschleife stickers all overit, fit some bigger wheels and sell it for an extra 5000 Euros above the usual Corsa OPC's price tag.
When I heard that Opel wants to make a special, limited edition of the Corsa OPC, I was naturally suspicious. And a bit disappointed as well, since previously I honestly believed that the OPC-guys are really up for the driving pleasure itself, not for high profits. They are so keen when they talk about the pin bearing, limited slip diff and weight reduction... you get my drift.
What's more, the things they did were getting better generation by generation: the Astra OPC became a fully respectable top-hatch, the Insignia wasn't bad either (just a little bit heavy and not too explosive) and the Corsa OPC showed its worth all the way round despite it wasn't a wise choice against the Clio RS. There was progress, the promise of progression, and now they want to sell me this? The same car? Again?
Then one day, my colleague and galactic buddy, András, staggered through the doors and the only thing that he could say was gosh! Trust me: when a half-German suspension engineer tells you this much, you must take it seriously.
The looks of the Corsa OPC Nürburgring Edition do not tell you much. Okay, it was lowered by 20 millimeters; all right, it's got 18 inch rims with some rubber steamed to them: all to the effect that it looks like a giant Hot Wheels car rather than a real one.
As my eyes scanned the wide wheel arches, the wheels, the massive side skirts and the filigree-styled rearview mirrors, I could not believe that this car has something to do with a 1.2-litre Corsa, a car just as interesting as a taxman's trousers.
Of course, there are some moronic things that they were incapable of changing, like the crazy, screaming-orange backlighting of the big, monochromatic display that a drunken lorry driver can read from miles behind – or the small satnav-system buried at the bottom, a completely useless tool while driving. Of course they kept the badly fitted USB-port right in front of the cup-holder that screams cheap shit Corsa, but I tried not to pay attention to these details, while mumbling to myself: Okay, this car is about enjoyment, so let's enjoy it. I don't need any of those things anyway. Yes, there are some backseats too but don't have high hopes, because behind the thin, yet perfectly shaped and massive Recaro-seats, the car offers space so much space that an iron maiden would feel like a full-size jacuzzi for eight after spending some leisurely time in the back of the OPC.
“550 horsepower, this is not your average Sierra,” commented the legendary Gordon Murray one of the greatest battles in the history of touring car racing between Tim Harvey and Andy Rouse with their RS500's at the Birmingham Superprix.
“Two-hundred-ten horsepower, this is not your average Corsa.” That was my first thought as I switched back two gears before a sharp turn and pushed the accelerator to the metal. And it isn't a Corsa OPC either. This is something completely different. This little thingy has its suspension tuned up by Bilstein and saves 2.5 kilograms of unsprung weight on every wheel despite the fact it has four-pot Brembo calipers and bigger discs too. You must take it very, very seriously. The numbers tells the story.