The new WTCC Ford Focus successfully enjoyed its first shakedown at Ford’s technical centre at Dunton, Essex in the UK, just before the Christmas break.
The racing car, based on the Global Ford Focus which took two victories in the 2011 British Touring Car Championship, was built by Team Aon that after clinching the BTCC Independent Teams‘ and Drivers‘ titles are now facing exciting new challenges in 2012.
With the first shakedown completed in full WTCC specs, with the 1.6L turbo engine and Yokohama tyres, the Ford Focus is now ready to go through additional tests in the wind tunnel, while work will also be completed on revised suspension components, ahead of an FIA technical inspection later this month.
Negotiations with drivers for the 2012 season are also well underway with the team hoping to make announcements in the near future.
The Team Aon car will next hit the track at the end of January with further tests in the UK, before an extensive test programme in Spain in early February.
"It has been very exciting to see the development of this new car," said driver Tom Chilton. "Of course we’re already very familiar with the Focus, having won races with it in 2011, but there are certain elements which make the WTCC version a different challenge from a driver’s perspective. We had our first proper shakedown with the car just before Christmas and hearing the new engine fire up was pretty exciting in itself! The engine was incredibly impressive even on its first run and I can’t wait to see what else it can do when we get our full test programme underway. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s great to have such a new challenge."
Team Principal Mike Earle added: "The team have been working very hard to get the new WTCC car together in time for testing. There are more restrictions on the WTCC car than there are on the BTCC version so we’ve had to change a few elements, and of course the tyres and engine are completely different. The shakedown went well and we’re going to be using the majority of January to work on the car in the factory before getting our test programme fully underway on track."
Team Aon successfully completed the shakedown of the WTCC Ford Focus
FIRST TEAMS COMMITT TO THE 2012 ETC CUP
The first teams announced their commitment to the 2012 FIA European Touring Car Cup that will be held on four race meetings, three of them coinciding with the World Touring Car Championship events at Monza (11 March), Valencia (1st April) and Salzburgring (20 May).
The series will be concluded by a standalone event at Imola (24 June).
Switzerland-based Maurer Motorsport announced they will run a couple of Chevrolet Aveo cars in the Super 1600 class for young Russian drivers Alexander Frolov (21 years old) and Vadim Meshcheryakov (19 years old) who were both crowned champions of the 2011 Russian Touring Car Championship in the Touring and the National class respectively.
The 34-year old Czech driver Petr Fulín (a race winner in the German SEAT Supercópa and the Abarth 500 European Trophy) also announced his plans to take part in the European Cup at the wheel of a Super 2000 BMW 320si car run by the Autonagy team.
The Super 1600 Chevrolet Aveo built by Maurer Motorsport for the 2012 ETCC
COUNTDOWN: – 65 DAYS
WTCC RACE OF ITALY – MONZA, 11 MARCH 2012