Strycek has considerable pedigree with motorsport, so he's not one to say these things lightly. He was also on hand at Knockhill to put his claims into action, showing most of the assembled field of eager hacks a clean pair of Remus tail pipes.
Across the board
To give the new Corsa VXR improved performance, Vauxhall has not increased the outright power, which stays at 205hp at 5,800rpm, but improved power delivery across the rev range. This is achieved with a new air intake, fuel injectors, turbo intercooler and engine management system. There is also that exhaust developed with Remus that now exits via two round tail pipes rather than a central triangular pipe.
theNurburgring and Clubsport models' 2,250-5,800rpm spread. There is also now an overboost facility that adds a further 26lb ft for five seconds at a time when the throttle pedal is floored.
Vauxhall has also revised the gear lever to reduce its throw by 13 per cent, which delivers a shorter, better gear change, though it's still not as fluid and precise as a Ford Fiesta ST's. There is also a larger gap between gap between third and fourth gears than feels ideal, which is an irritation on typical UK A-roads.
However, the engine's generous torque means you can leave the car in fourth where you'd be dropping to third in a non-Mountune'd Fiesta ST. Also, the changes to its engine mean the Corsa VXR beats the Fiesta ST from 0-62mph, taking 6.5 seconds to the Ford's 6.9. The Corsa is also quicker flat out than the Fiesta, hitting 143mph versus 139mph, while the engine sounds no better or worse than its competition.
Vauxhall reckons 40 per cent of Corsa VXR buyers will opt for the Performance Pack, which still brings the final price in at less than the old Nurburgring or Clubsport models. At Knockhill, the Performance Pack made a big difference, largely due to the Drexler diff and stronger brakes. You can feel the differential working as to pull the car through corners and resist understeer as the steering wheel wriggles a little in your hands, while the brakes are good on track and strong on the road.
In or out?
Unfortunately, the Drexler differential is not available as a separate option, so you have to pay the full whack for the Performance Pack. That's a shame as the standard suspension with the limited-slip differential would be the ideal blend for faster road use.
With plenty of standard equipment, the £17,995 starting price for the Corsa VXR represents good value against its competitors. If you want it to be the more focused machine Vauxhall intends, you need to spend that extra £2,400 on the Performance Pack. It pushes the price up but does give the Corsa VXR a different, distinct character from its rivals.
VAUXHALL CORSA VXR
Engine: 1,598cc 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 205@5,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 207@1900-5800rpm (with overboost)
0-62mph: 6.5 sec
Top speed: 143mph
MPG: 37.7 (NEDC combined)