Pre-season newsletter 2005-02-04

MEDIA DAY AND TESTING IN MONZA The 2005 FIA WTCC season will go underway on 10 April in Monza. As a prelude, the Italian circuit will host the official media day and testing on 22 and 23 March. Testing will be run on both days, while the press ...

The 2005 FIA WTCC season will go underway on 10 April in Monza. As a prelude, the Italian circuit will host the official media day and testing on 22 and 23 March. Testing will be run on both days, while the press conference will take place on the 22nd at 12:00 (noon) in the Media Centre.

Eurosport is the host broadcaster of the FIA WTCC. Its expertise and use of latest technology will provide the audience with the best coverage of the championship. The main production elements set up by Eurosport to cover the FIA WTCC include: a specialised team of 60 people, digital outside broadcast vans, digital HF cameras, on board cameras, one helicopter, super slomo camera and virtual system. At each event Eurosport will broadcast the qualifying session delayed, the warm-up and both races live, for a total air time of three hours.

In the latest weeks a number of features appeared on the international press pretending that the German city of Schwerin might host an FIA WTCC round in 2006, on a street racetrack around the local castle. The Major, Mr Norbert Clausen, was even quoted in some of these features.

In order to avoid further speculations, KSO urges to shed light on this: "The simple truth is that we have only read about this in the press. It might be an interesting idea for the future, but so far nobody contacted us with a proposal for having a race in Schwerin," General Manager Marcello Lotti stated.

SEAT Sport, a company with 140 employees, is facing the challenge of the newly created FIA WTCC, managing director, Jaime Puig, provides some insight into the expectations for the upcoming season.

"Rydell's win in Oschersleben last year demonstrated the capacity of SEAT Sport team, and stands for all the efforts put in, but at the same time signalled the first step toward more ambitious goals. But 2005 will also be an important year for preparation work on the new model going into competition at the end of this season."

SEAT Sport has said that the FIA ETCC was a three-year project, but after the first two years an unexpected leap has been made from European to World Championship.

"When faced with a three-year project, before it is over a decision has to be made regarding its continuation. This is our case, and we have already decided to continue participating in this Championship beyond 2005. For this reason we are working on a new car. We are sticking to the initial three-year project gathering experience in the first, chalking up points in the second, and winning races in the third. Perhaps we thought we'd have the new car at the beginning of 2005, and although that will have to wait, the Toledo Cupra may still give us great satisfaction if we manage to successfully introduce a few necessary improvements."

Next week the Chevrolet Racing team will start working on the technical development of the Lacetti car.

"After the shake down at the MIRA Proving Ground, the car underwent a series of static tests at the team's workshop and at Michelin," Chevrolet Europe's Motorsport Manager Eric Nève explained. "Now we are ready for the first proper track test, including set up changes and lap times."

The team will test in Albacete, Spain, from 9th to 11th February, with two cars and all their three drivers: Alain Menu, Nicola Larini and Robert Huff.

The Hotfiel Sport team is working on schedule to build their two Ford Focus cars.

"In these days the priority is to have all the papers ready for the homologation of the car," Ford Motorsport Manager Eberhard Braun said, "We are a bit under pressure, however the team have started building the second car. Our plans are to have another roll out in Oschersleben at the end of next week. Then we will go to Monza with both cars for taking part in the private test that will be held from 22nd to 24th February."

The team is due to unveil their two drivers during the week prior to the test in Monza.


PEUGEOT: The Denmark-based Peugeot Sport Engineering is working to develop the new Peugeot 407 car, which is due to make its racing debut in Monza. "We are working on engine and transmission, while Peugeot Sport in France is in charge for rollcage, suspension and aerodynamics," team principal Jørgen Agergaard declared.

ENGSTROM: Swedish driver Tomas Engstrom has confirmed his plans to take part in the first two meetings of the season, Monza and Magny-Cours, at the wheel of the JAS-built Honda Accord he will drive in the Swedish Touring Car Championshp.

RS-LINE: The team tested in Hockenheim with their Ford Focus fitted with a sequential gearbox built in Belgium by Tractive. "It is a big step forward in terms of traction," said team manager Rainer Stiefel. "In our next test we will have also bigger front brakes."


Andy Priaulx on his Formula One test:
"I can't thank enough Dr Mario Theissen and Sir Frank Williams for making one of my dreams come true. The test team, run by Tim Newton, did a fantastic job for me, and I was delighted to hear Technical Director, Sam Michael, sayiing I handled myself very well in the car, as I am told he never says anything that he doesn't believe and is a straight talking Australian. Many thanks to all of you and you know my number if you ever need someone to drive your car..."


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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Frank Williams , Eberhard Braun , Nicola Larini , Tomas Engstrom , Mario Theissen , Marcello Lotti , Jaime Puig , Alain Menu
Teams Williams