Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Chevrolet Cruze WTCC

For the past few years General Motors has been competing in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) with a car based on the Daewoo-built Chevrolet Lacetti. Top Gear fans will of course recognize the Lacetti as the current Reasonably Priced Car for Stars to demonstrate their track abilities. As the road-going version of the Lacetti grows long in the tooth, the General will be supplanting the budget people mover with the new Chevrolet Cruze. And that means in 2009, GM will replace the Lacetti with a new, Cruze-based WTCC challenger. The WTCC Cruze is already being tested in preparation for its debut in Brazil next spring. Cars running in the WTCC are based on compact and midsized cars with 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Touring car racing has been popular in other parts of the world, but has never caught on in the U.S. in spite of being more closely related to stock cars than the ones that run around in circles under the banner of NASCAR.

[Source: General Motors]


To Continue Chevrolet's World Touring Car Success

ZÜRICH / WELLINGBOROUGH – Chevrolet Europe has shown the first glimpse of the marque's 2009 World Touring Car Championship contender, today. The all-new Chevrolet Cruze, which recently premiered at the Paris Motor Show, will continue Chevrolet's presence in the WTCC, in which the marque so far has won twelve world championship races.

Testing of the new race car – which is the first to start Chevrolet's new design language in Europe – has already started and is on schedule, and will continue throughout the remainder of the current season and the coming winter. Developed, built, run and driven by the same team and drivers, the Cruze will be all but guaranteed the same speed, reliability and success. The Chevrolet Cruze's first competitive outing will be in Brazil at the opening round of the 2009 WTCC in Curitiba. In 2009, the WTCC will again visit twelve tracks, in South and Central-America, Africa, Europe and the Far-East.

Wayne Brannon: "Chevrolet has motorsport is deeply embedded in our DNA. With the new Cruze World Touring Car, Chevrolet continues to embrace its long tradition of winning on and off the track.. In the past four seasons, Chevrolet had distinguished itself in racing with an increasing number of victories, not so different from the record sales growth which has developed in Europe. Again this year, sales are up by 23 percent in the first six month, and we are very proud that customers are choosing us in record numbers. For our European dealers, the WTCC has been an extremely useful communications tool, and they look forward to the next season with Cruze. With Cruze, we again look to emphasize the synergy between product and motorsports, and the WTCC is the best possible platform to achieve this. The championship's slogan is 'Real Cars, Real Racing', and that fits nicely with our philosophy to provide real cars for real lives, with expressive design, world class quality / reliability and an impressive list of standard features and content, all at an affordable price."

Eric Nève: "The new Cruze will be the next milestone in Chevrolet Europe's motorsports history. So far, we have achieved every goal we set in 2005, step by step: challenge the competition, score points, prove we can win and then become regular frontrunners against competition with an established motorsports resume. With the Cruze, we will put the bar even higher and firmly aim at winning the World Championship. Chevrolet's unique 'trump card' is having worked with the same team, engineers and drivers for the past four seasons, with the success we all know. To be able to do this again with the Cruze will only help to increase our chances of achieving our goals."

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