Just days after securing its second drivers’ title in as many years, Chevrolet has already started its title defence preparations with further engine development on the 1.6T used in the Chevrolet Cruze.
The 2012 campaign was the main focus at a press event in Porrentruy, Switzerland, at the Louis Chevrolet SA watch factory.
2011 saw the team hit the ground running with the introduction of the 1.6T engine. For next season, one engine has to last the entire season – Chevrolet Motorsports Manager Eric Neve said:”In 2011, we hit the track running and we were far ahead of the competition with our direct injection 1.6 liter engine. Following changes in the regulations, we will now be concentrating on ensuring endurance for the entire season”
As well as the changes to the engines to ensure they last the entire season, other minor changes will be made to the suspension, otherwise it will be the same basic car which secured all twelve pole positions in the season as well as twenty one out of twenty four race victories.
Neve was pleased with how the three Chevrolet drivers performed throughout the season, and how they raced hard but fair out on the track: “They let the sport talk. There were a few contacts between the drivers but at the end they sorted it out themselves. Now, at the end of a hard season, they are still friends and the competition was limited to the track.”
Claiming his third Championship in four years was Yvan Muller. The French driver came out on top of the inter-Chevrolet battle with a slender three point advantage over Rob Huff and he was pleased with the outcome.
“It was a great season”, he commented, “Finding motivation was not difficult and it was further enhanced by the trust placed in me by the team.”
For team-mate Huff, he described the 2011 season as “the best year of my life”, having secured eight victories and four pole positions in the season. Huff added: “It has been an inspiring year for Chevrolet and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Alain Menu finished the 2011 season in a clear third position in the Championship and however disappointed he was with the final result, it marked an improvement on the 2010 campaign: “I’m now looking forward to the next season to begin the fight for top spot,” he said.
Chevrolet Europe President and MD, Wayne D Brannon echoed the sentiments of Neve and the drivers – and he is hoping for the same results in 2012: “We are extremely pleased with the results we obtained. In my country we have a saying, ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ and this is because of the tremendous impact of motorsports on sales of our vehicles. For next season, we will be more than happy to show the competition what our exhaust pipes look like.”