LADA to make its first start in 2009 WTCC LADA is to become the first car manufacturer from Eastern Europe to compete in the prestigious World Touring Car Championship. The LADA SPORT Team drivers will start the season from the first race (March...
LADA to make its first start in 2009 WTCC
LADA is to become the first car manufacturer from Eastern Europe to compete in the prestigious World Touring Car Championship. The LADA SPORT Team drivers will start the season from the first race (March 7-8 in Curitiba, Brazil) driving LADA 106 cars. Later on during the season, this model will be replaced by an all new LADA PRIORA.
For Russia's biggest car company, this participation in the WTCC is an important step in the process of integration into world motorsport. Such an elite competition will increase brand loyalty and trust among consumers, both in Russia and abroad. From the technical side, up-to-date technologies used at the highest level of competition will be brought together and formed into a unique engineering experience.
The Head of LADA's Sport Department, Vladislav Nezvankin, commented: "The WTCC is not only a significant sporting event, but also a perfect communication field for world brands. Through participation in the WTCC, LADA will have a higher level of integration into global automotive society. This means an exchange of knowledge and technology and new organisational, technical and marketing experience for us, as well as new business contacts. In our debut season, our main goal is to have consistent results in the middle of the grid. The LADA 106 cars used by the private "Russian Bears" team last season have been significantly modernized. This modernization has allowed us to improve aerodynamics, speed, engine performance and drivability. We believe that these changes will have a certain effect".
The LADA SPORT Team will take part in the World Touring Car Championship with three drivers at the wheel of the LADAs. The lead driver will be 44-year old veteran Viktor Shapovalov, alongside multiple Russian champion Kirill Ladygin (30) and Dutch driver Jaap van Lagen (32).
At present, three LADA 106 cars are already in Brazil. The LADA SPORT Team will have a pre-season test. The replacement of cars in the middle of the season has been agreed with WTCC organizers and will be conducted in compliance with technical regulations and homologation requirements (as the LADA PRIORA is considered an "evolution" version of LADA 106).
AVTOVAZ and KSO, the promoter of the FIA WTCC, signed a letter of intent on 21st November, 2008 in Moscow to promote the participation of LADA in the championship. The letter of intent was signed by AVTOVAZ President Boris Aleshin and KSO General Manager Marcello Lotti. This agreement is a breakthrough in international cooperation and it demonstrates Russia's industrial potential.