Lada? Racing? We've got to be kidding, right? Only we're not. While the Russian automaker may not have the motorsport pedigree of, say, Ferrari or Porsche, there's reason enough to believe it's getting serious.
One reason is its new corporate cousins at the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which owns part of Lada's parent company AvtoVaz and which never fails to get each of its divisions – from Renault in Formula One to Nissan in GT racing to Dacia in the Andros Trophy – on the track. Another is its history, however limited it may be, of competition in the World Touring Car Championship. Lada was contesting the WTCC just a couple of years ago, and in announcing the arrival of the new Granta, confirmed that it would be making a comeback. And this is the car with which it'll do it.
Called the Granta Sport, this adaptable racer will form the basis for a number of racing categories. One is the WTCC, which Lada will contest this year at two rounds (Hungary and Portugal) with an eye towards expanding to a full-season challenge in 2013. Another is the Granta Cup, a one-make racing series which Lada will field in Russia. Finally, an S2000-compliant version is reportedly in the works that would let privateer teams enter the Granta Sport in any of a number of racing series around the world.
Aside from the 1995 Chrysler Sebring coupe calling to ask for its fake plastic grille back, few details are available as to the Granta Sport's technical specifications, but we have the distinct feeling that Renaultsport has had a hand in its development. One way or another, you can scope out the high-res images in the gallery for a closer look.