The ‘Wir Leben Autobahn’ competition opened up with 3704 Opel fans racing for a top leaderboard spot in the virtual Opel Astra OPC game on Opel’s Facebook Page. The top twenty fastest competitors in the game made it through to the final round which was held at the Gerotek vehicle test facility in Pretoria on Saturday 13 July. All the participants were given first-hand experience of the Opel Astra OPC’s dynamic handling, power and agility as they faced the final, and real world, test of their driving ability.
“We had an early start at Gerotek on Saturday morning but I was pleased to see twenty very passionate Opel fans arrive with smiles on their faces. The atmosphere was cheerful with a few nervous participants who couldn’t contain their excitement at getting the opportunity to drive the Astra OPC,” said Opel Advertising Analyst, Mokete Seakamela.
The day was packed with activities where the participants were first welcomed by Opel Brand Manager at GM South Africa, Christopher Cradock, who gave them an overview of the Opel brand. They were then taken through a presentation of theory about driving awareness, basic road skills and mechanical knowledge of the OPC by the Opel Academy instructor Grant McCleery.
The first challenge of the day was on the dynamic handling track where participants were tested on cornering techniques, correct use of the clutch, gears and acceleration. This was followed by a module on the skidpan, with participants being tested on vehicle control and their ability to pull-off the collision avoidance techniques they had been taught by instructors McCleery and Marius van Vuuren. Some of the manoeuvres carried out included recovering from a loss of control in an under steer or over steer situation, braking and emergency lane change with and without applying the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
“I have never experienced a car that can handle as well as the OPC, it surprised me. The redesign is amazing and I cannot put words to the experience, especially getting to experience the OPC at a track like Gerotek,” said Oosthuizen, winner of the Wir Leben Autobahn competition.
The skidpan was followed by the high speed oval which seemed to be the most eventful of the day’s activities. Participants were required to drive the 206 kW Astra OPC at high speed around the oval track. “Opel is a very dynamic brand that has created some of the most memorable hot hatches we’ve ever had in South Africa. I am quite happy to see that our fans are also very talented drivers and that we now have twenty very good drivers who are out there acting as ambassadors of the brand;” said Cradock.
The final activity required the participants to drive through cones on the straight track where they were tested on their steering techniques and ability to drive through the cones.
The final winner and first place position was chosen based on the fastest lap time on both the dynamics race and through the cones on the straight track with the least cones hit as well as the driver’s ability to demonstrate good vehicle control through the obstacles.
“There were many talented drivers here today, but I felt Jacques Oosthuizen stood out because he has a very smooth and controlled driving technique,” said instructor van Vuuren.
“It’s the first competition I have ever won and it will be mine and my wife’s first trip overseas. It’s amazing to know a company is willing to go to this length to reward a fan,” said Oosthuizen
The 5 night prize to Germany includes a plant tour of the Opel plant in Rüsselsheim, where the Opel Insignia and the Astra 5-door models are manufactured, a tour of the Opel museum in Rüsselsheim, an OPC track day at the Opel Proving Grounds in Dudenhofen, a drive on the German Autobahn according to a planned route and an Opel motor vehicle will be provided for their stay in Germany.