Chevrolet announced yesterday that they will pull out of their involvement in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) once the 2012 season is over. This follows a strategic review of the company’s motorsport and marketing programmes, in this case being an 8-year participation that has yielded two Driver’s and Constructors’ Championships.
Chevrolet came into the series pretty much during the transition of almost-exclusive line up of petrol powered, rear wheel drive machineries to include front driven diesels. Despite this, the sole remaining works team for 2012 has garnered a highly impressive count of 59 wins.
Starting with the Lacetti, Chevrolet has been running the Cruze (the brand’s best-selling model) and consistently proving to be the racing car to beat. This year’s races have been particularly tight and the on-track battles between series leader Yvan Muller and Chevrolet teammate Rob Huff have been epic. That being said, sometimes the jostling for positions have been uncomfortably aggressive, allowing parties such as Tom Coronel and his BMW 320TC to sneak in some important points.
In any case, this early announcement allows the three Chevrolet drivers (including Alain Menu) together with race partner RML to plan for the future. No doubt the three drivers will not have a lot of problems looking for a professional racing gig and RML meanwhile have already confirmed that they are getting more active enquiries from major OEMs than ever.
However, it is also quite likely that the Chevrolet Cruzes to still be competing next year, but with customers teams. Doubly good as Honda will also participate in 2013 as a factory team using the Euro-type 5-door Civic. The car will be running a totally new 1.6 turbo engine built as a bespoke racing unit together with Mugen and J.A.S. Motorsport. In fact, if the team can make it, we may even see the Honda’s competing in some races this year.