Rob Huff puts first miles on World Touring Car Championship contender
The very first Chevrolet Lacetti World Touring Car has been shaken down at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) Proving Ground near Nuneaton. British driver, Rob Huff, put the first miles on the clock for what is Chevrolet’s first ever factory racing effort in Europe.
The shake down went very well and without any major problems, other than the usual and very normal teething problems that come with every brand new racing project. "Today’s test has gone very well, it’s always a good sign when a car works straight out of the box," said RML Chief Executive, Ray Mallock. "We have completed a fair amount of running today and have encountered no problems. Rob has been able to run at a good speed and push the car quite hard. The reports have been favourable on the engine and brakes and generally the whole package. We have managed to build on the limited data we had so it has been a very productive day and we can now continue with our planned test and development programme."
Driver Rob Huff said: "It’s been a very positive start for us today; the car feels good and is nicely balanced. We carried out various system checks and everything is running well. The cold weather has meant it took some time to get some temperature in the tyres but despite that we have been picking up the pace gradually and are all very happy with the way things have worked. It’s certainly put a smile on my face to get behind the wheel!"
Motorsports Manager for Chevrolet Europe, Eric Nève, was equally pleased: "After months of preparation Chevrolet’s World Touring Car Championship effort has now become a tangible reality. Six months ago this car only existed in the back of people’s minds, but now it’s a state of the art race car, built and run by one of the finest teams in the motorsports business and to be driven by what we feel is an excellent line-up of drivers."
On return from MIRA the car will receive a complete mechanical check before undergoing various workshop tests including torsion, camber & toe stiffness tests to validate the computer calculations. This process will take approximately 10 days. This will be followed by testing various set-up options including spring, anti-roll bar and damper rates as well as simpler checks such as confirming fuel tank capacity. These workshop tests will then be followed by four post rig damper testing in preparation for the second track test on 21 January.
The first group test for the new World Touring Car Championship is scheduled for 22 and 23 March at the Monza racetrack in Italy. The championship will kick off at the same track on 10 April, to finish after 20 races in the People’s Republic of China on 20 November.Published 8 January 2005