ZURICH, 25th November 2011: Further development on the engine of the Chevrolet WTCC Cruze will be the main change the team makes for the next season, set to begin in Monza on 11th March 2012. Next season was the focus of discussion at a press event involving the three Chevrolet drivers and held yesterday at the Louis Chevrolet SA watch factory in Porrentruy, Switzerland.
Chevrolet Motorsports Manager Eric Nève said the endurance capabilities will be further enhanced as teams will not be allowed to change engine next season. ”In 2011, we hit the track running and we were far ahead of the competition with our direct injection 1.6 liter engine. Following changes in the regulations, we will now be concentrating on ensuring endurance for the entire season” Nève said. Other minor work will also be conducted, including the suspensions, but the car will essentially be the same as the successful model that claimed 21 of the 24 races held in the 2011 season.
Looking back on 2011, Nève said he was satisfied with the performance of the three Chevrolet drivers, especially the manner in which they raced hard but fair on the track. “They let the sport talk. There were a few contacts between the drivers but at the end they sorted it out themselves. Now, at the end of a hard season, they are still friends and the competition was limited to the track”, he continued.
World champion Yvan Muller, who beat immediate rival Rob Huff by three points, said was extremely satisfied with the result. “It was a great season”, he commented, “Finding motivation was not difficult and it was further enhanced by the trust placed in me by the team.”
For Huff, the 2011 season was what he described as “the best year of my life”. “It has been an inspiring year for Chevrolet and I am proud to be a part of it”, Huff said. Third placed Alain Menu said that while he felt slightly disappointed finishing third, it was nonetheless a better position that the previous season. “I’m now looking forward to the next season to begin the fight for top spot”, he commented.
The sentiment was echoed by Chevrolet Europe President and MD Wayne D Brannon: “We are extremely pleased with the results we obtained. In my country we have a saying, ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ and this is because of the tremendous impact of motorsports on sales of our vehicles. For next season, we will be more than happy to show the competition what our exhaust pipes look like”, Brannon said.
Drivers build their own ‘world champions’ Louis Chevrolet watches.
Mimicking the Chevrolet Corvette Engine Build Experience program, the three Chevrolet drivers assembled their very own Louis Chevrolet ‘World Champions’ watches.
The task proved a challenge for the drivers, who are more used to driving their Cruzes around tracks at breakneck speeds. Using precision tools, the drivers carefully put together the pieces to make their custom-made watches.
Swiss Alain Menu said he was “struggling” to get the watch completed. “It’s completely different from driving. Assembling the watch requires you to look just a few centimeters down while you must look far ahead when driving. I don’t really think I’m patient enough for this so I’ll stick to driving”, he commented.
Yvan Muller also struggled to put the watch together. “It’s very hard, and I’ve been trying to put this same part together for quite some time”, he said, his focus completely on the assembly process he was undertaking. “I will also stick to driving”.
The story repeated itself for Rob Huff. “It’s quite different from driving”, he said, “You really need a steady hand. But there are similarities to driving in that you need to keep your nerve”.
Towards the end, the three drivers were competing to see who finished the assembly process first, After undergoing the mandatory quality checks that underpin the essence of the brand, the three drivers were presented their own assembled watches by Chevrolet Europe President and MD Wayne D. Brannon.
The Louis Chevrolet SA watch factory will be holding an Open Day on 3rd and 4th December where the world champions watch will be on sale. More information on the event can be obtained by visiting www.louischevroilet.ch. Chevrolet drivers Alain Menu and Yvan Muller will be present to meet the public on Saturday 3rd November from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chevrolet in WTCC
Chevrolet, which won its first World Champion titles in a FIA-sanctioned series in 2010, secured the 2011 WTCC World Champion titles three events before the end of the season. The brand confirmed its status of World Champion in both the Manufacturer and Driver World Champion in the year that marks the centennial of its foundation.