Pre-season newsletter 2005-03-11

FIA WTCC NEWSLETTER 07 11 March 2005 25 CARS TO COMPETE IN THE FULL SEASON Full season entries to the 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship closed on 28th February. 25 cars have been confirmed to take part in the championship's full ...

FIA WTCC NEWSLETTER 07 11 March 2005

25 CARS TO COMPETE IN THE FULL SEASON

Full season entries to the 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship closed on 28th February.

25 cars have been confirmed to take part in the championship's full season, representing seven different car Manufacturers. A number of other cars will compete on a race-by-race basis, expanding the field to 27/32 cars per event.

Five Manufacturers Alfa Romeo, BMW, SEAT and newcomers Chevrolet and Ford have entered in the Manufacturers' Championship.

FIA WTCC GOES TO DOWNTOWN MILAN

The famous Piazza del Duomo, heart of Milan's old city and a favourite meeting point for the local youth, will be an exceptional background to the FIA WTCC before the season's opening.

On Thursday 7th April, just a couple of days prior to the start of the hostilities in Monza, a few FIA WTCC racing cars (one for each Manufacturer) will be exhibited on the square alongside the XIV-Century Gothic Cathedral, and watched from the above by the "Madonnina", the emblem of Milan, a statue of the Virgin Mary placed on top of a 108- metre-high steeple. The exhibition will be located in a pedestrian zone, along the north side of the Duomo, and facing the baroque Vittorio Emanuele II arcade, in which are some of Milan's most luxury and... expensive shops.

A number of drivers will also attend, for meeting the public and signing autographs, between 2.00 and 6.00 pm.

BMW, FORD AND SEAT TESTED IN SILVERSTONE

A few FIA WTCC teams tested for three days at Silverstone, from Tuesday to Thursday. BMW was represented by BMW Team Deutschland and BMW Team UK. The former had one car in which Jorg and Dirk Muller took turns at the wheel. For the first time BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx drove the RBM-built 2005 car, which was sporting the number one the Guernsey man has secured by winning last year's FIA European Touring Car title.

SEAT Sport had never trained nor raced on this track before, and foused on gathering information on the Toledo Cupra's behaviour and settings. A total of 30 people from SEAT Sport went to England to take advantage of these sessions. Six SEAT cars took part in the test, three run by the FIA WTCC team (for Jordi Gene, Rickard Rydell and Peter Terting) and three by the SEAT Sport UK team (for Jason Plato, James Pickford and Luke Hines) that will compete in the British Touring Car Championship. These cars ran on BTCC specs: Dunlop tyres and 60 kg lighter than their WTCC counterparts. Ford Hotfiel Team also took part in the test, with one Ford Focus car alternatively driven by Germans Thomas Jager and Marc Hennerici. They are both in the frame to join the team for their first FIA WTCC campaign, together with Michael Funke, Patrick Bernhardt, Frank Diefenbacher and Thomas Klenke.

No times were released, however Rickard Rydell was clocked as the fastest driver over the three days: "I was impressed how the Toledo behaved on this track. I hope my experience here from my BTCC years, and the work we've done these days is useful when we come back here to race."

SILVERSTONE ROUNDS ON THE INTERNATIONAL TRACK

Contrary to what was previously announced, the FIA WTCC 5th and 6th rounds in Silverstone will be raced on the International circuit and not on the Grand Prix circuit as it was the case for the FIA ETCC rounds back in 2002.

Silverstone International circuit is 3.6-km long, compared to the Grand Prix's 5.4, meaning that each race will last 14 laps.

"It was the logical decision," KSO General Manager Marcello Lotti commented. "The International circuit suits much better touring cars, and this will contribute to two tough and close races."

FLASH NEWS

MAGNY-COURS: Pre-season testing move to France next week. From Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th, BMW Team Deutschland, BMW Team UK, BMW Team Italy-Spain, SEAT Sport, Alfa Romeo and Ford Hotfiel Sport will be testing at Magny-Cours. They will be joined by Independent teams Crawford Racing and Proteam Motorsport, for a total of 13 cars.

CHEVROLET: Team RML ran one Chevrolet Lacetti at the MIRA proving ground for testing a new lubrication system; the team is currently focusing on building the third race car in time for the official testing at Monza.

CARLY MOTORS: Carly Motors have been awarded with the Autosport Award as best Race Team in Dutch motor sport in 2004 because of his success in the FIA Touring Car Championship. The team directed by Carly Pellinkhoff have been a regular competitor in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, winning the 2001 Teams' title in the Super Production Championship and twice the Michelin Independents' Trophy, with Duncan Huisman in 2003 and Tom Coronel last year.

THEY SAID: QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Alessandro Zanardi: "If a driver is talented, he is going to win no matter what category he is competing in. I believe that Michael Schumacher would be an excellent touring car driver. Certainly it takes time, because these cars need to be driven in a different way." Andy Priaulx, after the test in Silverstone: "The car felt very good and the new updates definitely seemed to have made a difference. However, the most surprising thing of all was the weather. We were in the UK in March and we had three dry, relatively warm days. Someone was looking after us as if we had been there the week before we would have been waiting for the snow to melt..."

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Andy Priaulx , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Thomas Jäger , Frank Diefenbacher , Jason Plato , Peter Terting , Marc Hennerici , Luke Hines , Rickard Rydell , Jordi Gene , Thomas Klenke , James Pickford , Michael Funke , Patrick Bernhardt , Marcello Lotti
Teams Proteam Motorsport