James Thompson has admitted he has 'no particular expectations' as he prepares to make his debut for the works LADA Sport team in the seventh round of the World Touring Car Championship in Portugal.
The Porto street circuit will play host to the debut race for LADA's new Priora model, which will be driven by the double British Touring Car Champion in four of the remaining events this season.
Thompson will be the only one of the three LADA drivers using the new car in Portugal, with Jaap van Lagen and Kirill Ladygin continuing with the current 110 model until the German event at Oschersleben.
"It's a very exciting occasion and I'm really looking forward to driving the Priora in competition for the first time,” Thompson – also racing in the BTCC, DTC and V8 Supercars this season as part of a busy schedule – said. “We've obviously got a lot of development work ahead of us, but I am sure we will be able to learn plenty of important lessons as the weekend goes on.
“I've got no particular expectations as everything is so new, so we will just take everything as it comes."
Team-mates van Lagen and Ladygin will hope to make the most of the recent revisions to the engine in the 110 to not only support Thompson, but also to secure the best result possible with the current car.
"This weekend is going to be a big occasion for us,” van Lagen said. “As well as developing the new car, we also need to concentrate on getting the best possible result with the current 110, which will be our main focus in Porto."