Chevrolet has given the first glimpse of the car it will use for the 2009 World Touring Car Championship season.
Having used the Lacetti since moving into the WTCC, the manufacturer will switch the all-new Cruze for the 2009, with the car being based on the new model recently premiered at the Paris Motor Show.
Testing of the new race car – which is the first to start Chevrolet's new design language in Europe – has already started and is on schedule, and will continue throughout the remainder of the current season and the coming winter with the team then debuting the car in the first round of the 2009 campaign at Curitiba.
The Cruze will be driven by Rob Huff, Alain Menu and Nicola Larini with the trio all having re-signed for next year while RML will once again run the cars.
“The new Cruze will be the next milestone in Chevrolet Europe's motorsports history,” Chevrolet motorsport chief Eric Neve said. “So far, we have achieved every goal we set in 2005, step by step: challenge the competition, score points, prove we can win and then become regular frontrunners against competition with an established motorsports resume.
“With the Cruze, we will put the bar even higher and firmly aim at winning the World Championship. Chevrolet's unique 'trump card' is having worked with the same team, engineers and drivers for the past four seasons, with the success we all know. To be able to do this again with the Cruze will only help to increase our chances of achieving our goals.”
Wayne Brannon, executive director for Chevrolet Europe, said he hoped that the new Cruze would prove to be a success on track and on the roads as the company continues to try and improve its record on European shores.
“Chevrolet has motorsport is deeply embedded in our DNA,” he said. “With the new Cruze World Touring Car, Chevrolet continues to embrace its long tradition of winning on and off the track. In the past four seasons, Chevrolet had distinguished itself in racing with an increasing number of victories, not so different from the record sales growth which has developed in Europe. Again this year, sales are up by 23 percent in the first six months, and we are very proud that customers are choosing us in record numbers.
“For our European dealers, the WTCC has been an extremely useful communications tool, and they look forward to the next season with the Cruze. With the Cruze, we again look to emphasize the synergy between product and motorsports, and the WTCC is the best possible platform to achieve this. The championship's slogan is 'Real Cars, Real Racing', and that fits nicely with our philosophy to provide real cars for real lives, with expressive design, world class quality/reliability and an impressive list of standard features and content, all at an affordable price.”