The global stage that is the WTCC has a true ‘global’ car joining its ranks next year, as the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC will line up against some very strong competition around the world next season, with 9-time rally legend, Sebastien Loeb making his move to the racetrack after almost a decade of dominance in the WRC.
The majority of the WTCC grid is made up of ‘C’-segment cars, which includes the Chevrolet Cruze, Seat Leon and Honda Civic, amongst others, with new regulations being put into force for next year. The C-Elysée is being produced in mind, alongside its sister car in the PSA Group, the Peugeot 301, for a lot of the emerging markets, and with the French brand clearly looking at the best way to promote its brand around the world, their new car was, so to speak, “the perfect choice”, as the car has been widely acclaimed since its unveil at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. Fast-forward 10 months later, and the C-Elysée WTCC is digitally unveiled to the world for all to see…
The 30,000 units that have already been ordered for its road-going cousin, which puts the new car 30% ahead of the initial targets set by the manufacturer, have bolstered this venture. Citroën Brand CEO, Frédéric Banzet, explained just how much racing really means to the automotive world in ways of active promotion through motorsport, especially with the French car maker joining a great touring car series in the WTCC: “Choosing C-Elysée as the basis for our WTCC car reflects very clearly our determination to use racing as an active means of supporting our commercial development.
“With rounds in Latin America, Morocco, China and Russia, the WTCC race calendar is genuinely global, and it will be a real advantage to run a C-Elysée, a key driver of our growth, in front of large crowds of enthusiastic motorsport fans.”
The new WTCC car from Citroën was “ideal in terms of aerodynamics,” as Technical Director, Xavier Mestelan-Pinon, who stated that the construction of their first track-bound car was a big leap forward, but simplistic in a lot of ways, as the required components that make up the vehicle seems to come together rather well: “We constantly had to ask ourselves questions about the relevance of our choices, but that's what makes this a particularly exciting challenge.”
The French outfit is currently testing the car, which uses the same 1.6 litre turbocharged engine as currently found in the DS3 WRC. The engine’s specification remains largely unchanged apart from a wider booster flange, as it is tried and tested, but meets the regulations that the FIA are currently working on for the 2014 season. The power of the engine will be around 380bhp, which equates to almost an astonishing 238bhp per litre, and sounds glorious when delivered through the Sadev 6-speed sequential gearbox to the 18-inch wheels on Yokohama rubber.
The iconic Frankfurt International Motor Show, which is being held between the 18th and the 22nd September, will see the official first public appearance of the new WTCC challenger, as the development race continues towards a hopefully competitive season first time out. But the question that remains is this: Who will partner Loeb next season? That is anyone’s guess…