After several years of successful campaigns in the British Touring Car Championship, Chevrolet is replacing its Lacetti race cars with the all-new Cruze. The move follows a similar one last year when the Cruze replaced the Lacetti in the World Touring Car Championship.
As you may recall, Chevrolet replaced the aging, Daewoo-based Lacetti Touring cars with the all-new, all-Chevy Cruze in the WTCC last season, and the team pulled off four wins in the 12-race series. Now, the Cruze is heading north to the U.K. to replace the Lacetti for the 2010 BTCC season. Considering that teams running the Lacetti recorded podium finishes in six of the 10 races and won three of them, the Cruze has its work cut out for it.
Team Chevrolet isn’t too worried, though. Racing Silverline, the star of the Chevrolet teams in 2009 and the only team running the Cruze in 2010, is already out testing and laying down the fastest laps in practice. Driver Jason Plato posted the time to beat at testing at Brands Hatch, putting down a fast lap two-tenths of a second ahead of the closest competition.
“We made really good progress with the car,” said Plato. “Starting where we left off after testing at Oulton Park, we validated a number of changes we had made to the setup and also found a few that didn’t work – just what a testing session is for.
“It was great to get even more familiar with the Cruze, and after setting the fastest time of the day we’re all geared up for when we get to Thruxton – we’re after big points.”
Plato’s teammate, Alex MacDowall, wasn’t as quick, but the youngest driver in the series wasn’t letting it get him down.
“It feels quick and I’m getting increasingly confident with it,” said 19-year-old MacDowall. “I was a couple of tenths off the pace in testing, but we were trying out various setups with the car and I know I could get it to go a lot quicker.”
The 10-race 2010 season opens at Thruxton, Hants, on Sunday, April 4. You can follow Team Chevrolet online at http://www.chevroletbtcc.co.uk/