Testing continues for RML Chevrolet RML Chevrolet's preparations for the 2008 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) have taken another step-forward following a highly-successful three-day test at Estoril, Portugal, this week. The full driver...
Testing continues for RML Chevrolet
RML Chevrolet's preparations for the 2008 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) have taken another step-forward following a highly-successful three-day test at Estoril, Portugal, this week.
The full driver line-up of Alain Menu, Nicola Larini and Rob Huff were on-hand for the Wellingborough-based squad, to test several brand new components for the 2008 Lacetti which also sports a revised livery for the new season.
More tests will take place in the UK using the test car, while the race cars are being shipped to South America for the first round of the WTCC in Curitiba, Brazil, on March 2.
Rob Huff said: "Between the Valencia test and this one we have again made steps forward. Everybody understands more about the set-up and are consistently working in the right direction. Every day of testing we have had so far with the new 2008 car has been going very well and it's good to be so ready so early."
Alain Menu said: "I tested on the final day, working on springs and brakes; the usual detail stuff you try this time of the winter. With the Lacetti being as good as it is, we are now looking at improving our lap times by the hundredth of a second rather than by the tenth. This is not as easy but certainly is rewarding.
"Sometimes you can test a whole day without finding a plus, but you may have been able to eliminate a minus which is often just as helpful. As before a lot will depend on the kind of track you race at, whether or not you can find that little bit extra. With the quality and reliability of the Lacetti now well established, as witnessed by our seven wins last year, we should be fighting for the lead from the start."
Nicola Larini said: "These are the new cars we're testing, albeit still with the 2007 engine, but they have the rest of the 2008 package installed. These days we've been mainly busy validating parts, particularly the suspension, differential and overall set-up. We're racking up as many laps as we can and have had no reliability issues whatsoever, which makes me feel quite confident for the season. As in the years before the guys at RML have done an outstanding job over winter in preparing a superb race car which will hopefully allow me to win my first WTCC race."
Mark Way, Chief Project Engineer on the RML Chevrolet program, said: "The last two seasons we have been competing with an engine waiver (12:1 compression ratio and increased valve lift) to help overcome differences between our road car aerodynamics and the other manufacturers. This season the engine waiver will not be renewed however we will get a 20kg reduction of our base weight instead. We have been working hard in all areas of the 2008 car to make up this difference and are confident that with the weight reduction and our winter developments we can continue the competitiveness seen last year with the Chevrolet Lacetti."
Mark Busfield, RML Chevrolet Project Manager, said: "We have completed a lot of track testing during December and January in preparation for the 2008 campaign. This week's test at Estoril is the second time we have used this track since December, and it gave us the opportunity of a good test facility with a warm winter climate, plus the added benefit that we will race here for the first time in the WTCC during July.
"This week has been our final test with our drivers using their new race cars before the hardware and equipment are shipped to Brazil on the February 1. The first race will soon be here and our preparations are going to plan to have everything ready for this date, further testing will take place in February using the test car to ensure we start the season as strongly as possible."