LADA has completed a successful first test of its new Granta TC1 machine at Magny-Cours, with less than a month to go before the start of the 2014 World Touring Car Championship season.
The Russian manufacturer heads into the 2014 season looking to build on an encouraging maiden campaign with the Granta model, though this year's variation will be defined by new, more aggressive 'TC1' regulations that have been introduced to WTCC to improve the spectacle and competition.
Expanding to a three-strong driver line-up in 2014, 2012 WTCC champion Rob Huff joins touring car stalwart James Thompson and young Russian Mikhail Kozlovskiy in the factory supported team.
Completing a successful day of testing in France with Huff and Thompson at the wheel, team manager Viktor Shapovalov was pleased with the progress made, particularly the ORECA-built engine.
“The team did a great job to make a car in compliance with the WTCC's new technical rules. The LADA Granta TC1 is completely different to its predecessor – both in terms of new parts and elements and in terms of the whole approach to car building from the point of geometry. We widely used the experiences we gained during the previous season, but more flexible technical rules allowed us to make the car more competitive due to some innovative suspension development solutions.
“At the same time, the advantages of the Granta's short wheelbase are still with us – in particular, its maneuverability. With the advent of the new regulations, we have been able to solve some problems we experienced in 2013, while retaining the core benefits of the base car. The new engine, made by LADA Sport LUKOIL's partner ORECA, gives the car even more potential. In particular, the acceleration at the corner exits has improved significantly.
“On the whole, the team is satisfied with the first shakedown. The primary objective was to ensure all of the car's systems were working in harmony, given the enormously increased engine and braking performance. The initial runs confirmed that the team has managed to find the best balance of the car.”
The opening round of the 2014 WTCC season will be held in Marrakech, Morocco on April 12-13