Chevrolet is commemorating eight successful years of racing with a highlights reel reliving all of the emotions; the joy, pain, tears and celebrations that marked the tortuous climb to the summit of the world’s top touring car series.
The video highlights the journey taken by the Chevrolet team from the inception of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in 2005, with the Chevrolet Lacetti more than two seconds behind pole position, to the brand’s last race in Macau in November 2012 – with the Chevrolet Cruzes claiming the top three spots and leaving the series with 68 race wins under its belt.
The turnaround was the result of Chevrolet’s and RML’s determination to be the best in the world; a philosophy that is reflected in Chevrolet’s product range.
“When we re-launched the brand in Europe in 2005, we decided to take on the challenge posed by the WTCC as this would be a veritable testing ground for our cars. Over the years, we have climbed to the helm of the series,” said Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe.
Chevrolet has won all there is to win in the world’s leading touring car series, amassing three double titles (Manufacturers’ and Drivers’) and 68 race wins in the process. Chevrolet also re-wrote the record books after finishing the 2012 season with a massive 1,025 points – a feat that had never been achieved in the FIA-organised WTCC.
The numbers are staggering: the Chevrolet drivers completed 23 double and 17 triple victories, claimed 184 podiums, 36 pole positions and 61 fastest laps in 178 races. They led for 820 laps and won a total of 3,580 Manufacturers’ championship points (4,470 Drivers’ points) over the eight-year participation in the WTCC – more than any other constructor.
The Chevrolet Cruze has become one of the brand’s top selling nameplates. Since its launch in 2009, more than 1.7 million Cruzes have been sold, an achievement that can in part be attributed to the success on the track.
Following a strategic review of Chevrolet’s motorsport and marketing programmes, Chevrolet decided to leave the WTCC at the end of the 2012 season.
“We are extremely proud of the three double World Titles we have won in the series and of the 68 victories over the last eight years. The WTCC has been a powerful brand platform and showcase for Chevrolet and Cruze in Europe, and markets throughout the world,” Docherty said.
‘’Chevrolet’s WTCC Cruze drivers, Rob Huff, Alain Menu and Yvan Muller, finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 2012 season. They are more than great racing drivers and they have been exemplary brand ambassadors for Chevrolet, embodying Louis Chevrolet’s can-do spirit every time they race,” Docherty added.
Muller won two Drivers’ titles and 20 races for Chevrolet in three years while Huff, who took the chequered flag 23 times, claimed the third. The Brit, one of the original three Chevrolet drivers with Menu and Nicola Larini, was also the first to win points for the team in 2006.
Menu was the first and the last to win races for Chevrolet. He drove his Chevrolet to victory 23 times. Larini notched up one victory and Rickard Rydell, who sat in as a fourth guest driver in his native Sweden in 2007, also won a race for Chevrolet.
The technical and sports aspect were entrusted to the British racing organisation RML, a partnership that proved extremely successful.
Ray Mallock, Chief Executive, RML, said: “Everyone at RML is very proud of the multiple championships we have won for Chevrolet in the WTCC. Over the last eight years we have played a key role in promoting and building the Chevrolet brand across the world and the success of this programme has also been a great platform to develop the RML brand globally.”
Chevrolet will continue to be present in global motorsports with its many other race series, including IndyCar, NASCAR and GT racing.
Looking back – Chevrolet and the WTCC
2004 – The WTCC and Chevrolet’s WTCC programme are officially launched in Monaco.
2005 – 8-10 April: the Chevrolet Lacetti WTC makes official racing debut in Monza, Italy, at the WTCC inaugural event. Alain Menu, Nicola Larini and Rob Huff are the Chevrolet drivers. Round 5 of the season (Mexico) sees Huff (6th) and Larini (7th) scoring the first points for Chevrolet.
2006 – A key objective is reached: victory. On 21 May, Alain Menu takes the chequered flag at a rain-soaked Brands Hatch (UK) circuit. Rob Huff adds a second victory in Brno (Czech Republic).
2007 – Chevrolet claims first pole (Menu, in Zandvoort, the Netherlands), first double (Menu 1st and Larini 2nd in Zandvoort), first hat-trick (pole, win, fastest lap) with Menu in Pau (France) and first triple win (Menu 1st, Huff 2nd, Larini 3rd in Porto, Portugal). In total, the Lacetti claims seven wins and claims the unofficial title of ‘Queen of the streets’ as the Chevrolet wins in all four urban circuits included in the WTCC calendar.
2008 – Chevrolet consolidates as the third-strongest force in the WTCC, adding five more wins to its total.
2009 – New Cruze WTCC makes racing debut and immediately stuns the world with two wins (Huff and Larini) in Marrakech (Morocco). Four more wins follow during the season.
2010 – French ace and former WTCC Champion Yvan Muller replaces Nicola Larini, who retires from professional racing. The Cruze, which has undergone further development, proves competitive, notching up seven wins and claiming both the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ (Yvan Muller) titles, and achieving record of being present on 21 of the 22 race podiums.
2011 – The Cruze, equipped with the new RML-designed 1.6 turbo petrol engine, proves competitive and reliable. Its track record for the season is impressive: 21 wins out of 24 races (with six 1-2-3 finishes and nine 1-2 wins), in the lead for 256 laps and a total of 51 out of 72 podium places. In addition, they claimed all pole positions (12) and 23 fastest laps.
2012 – Chevrolet takes 20 wins from 24 races. Rob Huff claims the title with 413 points, ahead of Alain Menu on 401 and Yvan Muller on 393. Chevrolet smashes through the 1,000-point threshold for the first time ever in the WTCC, ending season with 1025 points, ahead of BMW on 650 and SEAT in 3rd place on 617.