Pre-season Newsletter 2006-02-24

FIA WTCC NEWSLETTER February 24, 2006 CHEVROLET TESTED AT BRANDS HATCH RML and Chevrolet had a successful first test with the new 2006 Chevrolet Lacetti car at Brands Hatch today. In freezing temperatures and through showers of rain, sleet ...

February 24, 2006


RML and Chevrolet had a successful first test with the new 2006 Chevrolet Lacetti car at Brands Hatch today. In freezing temperatures and through showers of rain, sleet and snow, the team managed to gather valuable data from drivers Alain Menu, Nicola Larini and Robert Huff.

Despite the changing weather conditions, all drivers were happy with their first runs in the car, which now features left-hand drive and revised aerodynamics. "It's a pity the weather kept changing like it did," Menu said. "I managed to get in just three or four laps in the dry, so we mainly concentrated on finalizing the oil cooler position for the remainder of the day. The feeling of the car in general is good and the left-hand drive is definitely an improvement. "

RML Chief Executive, Ray Mallock, was pleased with the tests, despite the weather: "We just had a minor teething problem with the power steering system before lunch, but the engineers sorted that out for the afternoon session. Apart from that we had no major issues, so we could quickly start amassing data. Unfortunately we were only using a portion of the track (the short Indy Circuit) for this test, as the Grand Prix track can only be used for race meetings due to restrictions on the number of "noisy" days. But all in all we can say that we've had a very productive day indeed."

Chevrolet will test again in Albacete, Spain next week and Magny Cours, France the following week.


All three BMW works teams tested in Monza for two days, on Wednesday and Thursday. Reigning World Champion Andy Priaulx drove his BMW Team UK car, Jorg and Dirk Muller where at the wheel of the two BMW Team Germany machines, while BMW Team Italy-Spain tested with Alessandro Zanardi and Marcel Costa.

However, drivers and teams had to cope with bad weather. Rain fell nearly continuously on both days, giving only a one-hour break on Thursday morning.

"We did not have much chance. I'm afraid that nothing really useful will come out of this test," BMW Team Italy-Spain's principal Roberto Ravaglia commented.


Defending World Champion, Andy Priaulx and his team are already hard at work, putting in the miles on cold, windswept circuits around Europe, to again find the winning edge to defend their title.

With the new BMW 320si E90 replacing the double Championship winning 320i E46, new car knowledge and its development in pre-season testing will be paramount to the competitiveness of the car in 2006. Priaulx and his team have completed five days testing to date at Zandvoort, Valencia and Monza.

"I am very excited about the new car," said Andy. "We have had excellent reliability `out of the box' and we are learning about the car every lap we complete. It will take time to understand it as we did the E46, but the benchmark has been raised by this car and I am confident that we will again have a strong Championship package."


The Italian Superturismo Championship will race with the FIA WTCC at Monza and Magny-Cours. Competitors of the Italian series will be also eligible to score World Championship points because they adopt the same Yokohama tyres used by their fellow FIA WTCC competitors.

Between eight and ten cars are expected to enter in the two events, including the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320si of reigning champion Alessandro Zanardi who, like last year, will add the Italian campaign to his FIA WTCC commitment.

The Manufacturers represented in the Italian Superturismo will be Alfa Romeo, BMW and SEAT.


The FIA World Touring Car Championship appointed full-service marketing agency RSM to implement a PR and promotions campaign to raise its profile. RSM is tasked with broadening the FIA WTCC's audience reach, particularly via lifestyle media. RSM will devise and implement a pan-European campaign focusing on six key markets, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. RSM's activities will supplement those of the FIA media delegate, Fabio Ravaioli.

Jacques Behar, president of FIA WTCC promoter KSO, commented: "The championship delivered great entertainment in its first year to the millions of fans who watched it on TV or came to the races, but it deserves to be better known. RSM has impressed us with its creativity and energy, and has shown in the past that has the ability to take motorsport events to broader audiences."

Based in Milton Keynes, RSM provides marketing consultancy, PR, event management, and promotions and incentive schemes to a broad range of clients.


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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Marcel Costa , Ray Mallock , Nicola Larini , Roberto Ravaglia , Alain Menu , Fabio Ravaioli