The LADA Sport Lukoil team hit the track for the first time in view of the 2013 WTCC season. On Monday and Tuesday, James Thompson completed his first pre-season tests in the LADA Granta at Magny-Cours, France.
The British driver tested the new engine and race set up solutions, completing 70 laps of the French circuit.
I am very satisfied with the speed and performance of the car and the steps forward that have been taken since our long test in August. I think we have worked very hard with our LADA Granta to maximize its strengths and minimize any weak points. In particular we focused on the chassis balance and speed on the long straights, and moved a step forward compared to the car we had one year ago. It is quite important, as the championship visits many high speed circuits. This updated variant of the car gives hopes for better overall performance, especially in the race. Now we should focus on further improvements and I am eager to test new evolutions of the Granta, Thompson said.
Team Principal Victor Shapovalov echoed: It was important to estimate the performance of the car after all the improvements we made. The car was seriously developed in terms of aerodynamics, speed, drivability. James feedback is crucial for us to understand in which areas we need some more improvement.
The LADA Sport Lukoil team will test again at Magny-Cours from 25 to 28 February, when Thompson will be joined by his new team-mate and Aleksei Dudukalo.
ROAL MOTORSPORT WITH CORONEL AND OYOUNG
ROAL Motorsport announced their line-up for the 2013 WTCC, with Darryl OYoung who will join Tom Coronel at the wheel of the teams BMW 320 TC cars.
Team principal Roberto Ravaglia said: We are very confident while looking forward to the new season. Tom is part of our family and we are pleased to welcome Darryl in the team. They are both experienced drivers; Tom has the potential to fight for top three in the Drivers Championship and Darryl for the Yokokama Trophy title.
Coronel faces his third season with ROAL Motorsport, after finishing fourth in the 2011 Drivers Championship and fifth last year: At the end of last year, Roberto Ravaglia made it clear that the team had every reason to continue our existing partnership. During the winter, they have tried everything to make the BMW lighter and better. We are now quite close to the minimum weight, which certainly will give us an advantage. With ROAL Motorsport, we are aiming at top three results in the races and in the championship. Of course, the opposition has been working hard, too, but I am very confident that we can be among the front runners.
After driving SEAT and Chevrolet cars in WTCC, OYoung makes the switch to rear-wheel drive: I am excited to join ROAL Motorsport! I have admired Roberto and his team for many years in the WTCC, and to have an opportunity to work with them this season is perfect. I have built a rear-wheel drive experience in GT racing, so I feel the BMW will suit me well. I’m looking forward to begin testing with the team, and I will work hard to deliver the best results. This will be my fourth WTCC season and by now I have the experience to fight for the Yokohama Trophy title.
The team will hit the track for the first time on February 21 and 22, testing at Vallelunga, Italy.
ALEX MACDOWALL RE-SIGNS WITH BAMBOO
Alex MacDowall has re-signed with bamboo-engineering for a second consecutive season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The partnership between the 22-year old Englishman and the Silverstone-based outfit will continue, following last years successful campaign in the WTCC that was worth the 11th position in the Drivers Championship and the fifth, with two race victories, in the Yokohama Trophy.
MacDowall will team with his fellow countryman James Nash at the wheel of the bamboo-engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T cars.
Its fantastic to stay with the team and in a Chevrolet. We had a great first season together and I think we did a really good job. My confidence started to build during the second half of the season, and with all of that experience Im certain well be able to fight for the Yokohama Trophy this year, said MacDowall.
Richard Coleman, Chief Executive bamboo-engineering commented: We are delighted to keep Alex again this year and to build on his strong experience from 2012. Alex had an especially strong second half to the season and this, twinned with the signing of James Nash, not only gives us a great driver line up but a real chance to challenge for a title.
PORTUGUESE TEST FOR ALL-LINKL.COM
A few days after testing for the first time the SEAT León WTCC at Navarra, the German outfit ALL-LINKL.COM Münnich Motorsport moved to Portimãos Autódromo di Algarve for two more days.
After the rain in Navarra, sunny weather blessed the test on Sunday and on most of the Monday.
We were able to complete a lot of laps in the dry. I had enough time to adapt my driving to the SEAT. We worked with different set up solutions to evaluate the best combination for the car and my style. SEAT Sport had sent Jordi Gené to help us with his enormous experience in the WTCC car. We managed to simulate qualification runs and races and the results were quite satisfactory, said Marc Basseng.
René Münnich added: The Track is a real challenge for the drivers, with its combination of ultra quick corners, hard braking and slow speed corners. We worked in different direction with the set up in order to have range of possibilities for all kind of conditions. I´m still learning, but Im quite happy with the results I achieved so far.
Now the team are heading back to their workshop in Germany, where they will get more familiar with the preparation of the car before the next test.
HONDA TEAM COMPLETE TEST IN SPAIN
The Honda Racing Team JAS completed a three-day testing at the Aragón Motorland circuit in Spain where they ran two cars from Monday to Wednesday.
The Honda Civic WTCC in 2013 specifications made his first appearance in the hands of Gabriele Tarquini who completed 204 laps without any problems. The Italian driver tested qualifying and race set up, working on suspension geometry and differential settings.
His team-mate Tiago Monteiro ran in the 2012 car in the same specs used in the previous test at Valencia and completed 222 laps focusing on engine mapping and testing a new steering box.
Team principal Alessandro Mariani commented: It has been an important step that gave us significant feedbacks about the new cars potential. We were pretty happy about the work done and the data we collected on the new car, but also on the engine. We are very satisfied with all the progress. Both cars managed to go through the whole testing programme without any technical problem, completing more than 2200 kilometres in total.
Tarquini echoed: This racetrack is very demanding and excellent for testing, though we have not any comparison with touring car performance here. However, I have the feeling that together with the engineers and the whole team we have done a good job.
Monteiro added: I managed to complete many laps with the 2012 car that had been updated with many new parts. Our focus was the engine set up, but I had also the opportunity to develop the car set up, checking different options that will prove useful for the coming season.
ONLINE MEDIA ACCREDITATION FOR WTCC
Media accreditation for the events of the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship is now open. Representatives of the international printed press, websites and agencies who wish to apply race-by-race are requested to register on the FIA online accreditation system at https://acr.fia.com/ECR/.
First-time applicants must register before any application for accreditation can be submitted. After approval by the FIA, the applicant will receive an email which will give access to the online accreditation system. Only then can an accreditation application be submitted. After approval the online accreditation system can be accessed via the FIA website using your chosen ID and password.
The online accreditation system will apply for accreditation requests for any event for the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship within the deadlines listed here below:
Monza 13 March
Marrakech 27 March
Slovakia Ring 17 April
Hungaroring 24 April
Salzburgring 8 May
Moscow 29 May
Porto 19 June
Curitiba 17 July
Sonoma 28 August
Suzuka 11 September
Shanghai 23 October
Macau 18 October