Russian car marker LADA will make its debut as a works entry in the World Touring Car Championship this weekend as the 2009 campaign kicks off in Brazil.
Having seen the Russian Bears Motorsport team campaign three cars last season, LADA will now run the same drivers – Viktor Shapovalov, Kirill Ladygin and Jaap van Lagen – during the season ahead under the LADA Sport banner, with the trio starting the season with the same 110 model as used in 2008.
The car has already undergone development work over the winter prior to the opening rounds of the season, with the 110 set to be replaced by the new Priora model when the series heads to Brno later in the year.
The Priora, referred to as an 'evolution' of the current car, still needs to go through it technical and homologation checks.
“The WTCC is not only a significant sporting event, but also a perfect communication field for world brands,” head of LADA's Sport Department Vladislav Nezvankin, said. “Through participation in the WTCC, LADA will have a higher level of integration into global automotive society. This means an exchange of knowledge and technology and new organisational, technical and marketing experience for us, as well as new business contacts. In our debut season, our main goal is to have consistent results in the middle of the grid.
“The LADA 110 cars used by the private Russian Bears team last season have been significantly modernised. This modernisation has allowed us to improve aerodynamics, speed, engine performance and drivability. We believe that these changes will have a certain effect."