The DTM (German Touring Car Championships) thrilled European motor sports fans with plenty of fender-to-fender action unfurled by three major car manufacturers: Mercedes-Benz, Opel, and Audi. The Opel machine that raced in the highly popular 2001 DTM season was the Astra V8 Coupe. With its over-sized front bumper, over fender, and rear wing, the machine's external design maintained the same style as the production version. However, the machine's guts, a powerful front-installed 462hp outputting 4-liter V8 engine with rear-wheel drive and 6-speed transmission, were made purely for racing. Although Opel could not make any noteworthy race results during the first half of the 2001 race season, they steadily began making gains in the latter half. Opel's ace driver, Manuel Reuter, drove behind the wheel for Opel Team Phoenix and took 4th place finishes in the 8th and 10th races of the 2001 season, a testament to his incredible driving skill and the winning potential of Opel Team Phoenix.
The above blurb from Tamiya gives the background for this model. The box contains six sprues; the parts are molded in silver grey, white, black, clear, amber and red. A small bag contains the door hinges w/screws and a piece of screen for the intake grilles. A set of window masks, three decal sheets, some metal emblem transfers and four slick tires round out the contents. Instructions are in the familiar Tamiya format with all colour callouts referencing Tamiya paints.
One of the more interesting features of the Opel Astra DTM car are the gullwing doors, which Tamiya elected to make operable. The kit includes metal hinges that mount via screws to an H-shaped piece that glues into the top of the car. Plastic props are included to hold the doors open, but the instructions suggest replacement with metal. Unlike the Mercedes CLK DTM model no engine detail is included. No loss as there actually isn’t much to see under the hood with modern touring sedan racers, just ducting and airboxes.
The interior, suspension and roll cage are all well detailed. Seatbelts are decals. The operable doors are molded in two main pieces, the inner door with window is clear; the outer door is molded in white. The potentially weak parts of the operating doors are the two small cylindrical hinge pieces that need to be glued to the top of the doorframe.
Overall the kit catches the aggressive look of the full-size car. The painting instructions include paper masks for the tricky bits around the fenders. Tamiya has also released the model with an all red paint scheme. Last year OPEL had a road going showcar version of the racer on the Auto Show circuit, nicely done up interior for two. Alas no production plans.