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Team Aon Continue WTCC Preparations

Team Aon are pressing on with their 2012 plans to move up to the FIA World Touring Car Championship with the ‘Global’ Ford Focus, which the team secured two victories with in the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Having secured the Independent driver and team titles in 2010 with the old shape Focus, the 2012 Ford Focus World Touring Car is based on last year’s car but built to confirm with the WTCC regulations.

Instead of the 2.0l turbocharged engine used in the BTCC, the team have fitted the 1.6 litre turbocharged engine used in the WTCC as well as the Yokohama tyre used, instead of Dunlop. The first example of the new car had its first run just before Christmas.

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For Tom Chilton, seeing the new car develop has left him buzzing: “It has been very exciting to see the development of this new car.

“Of course we’re already very familiar with the new Focus, having won races with it in 2011, but there are certain elements which make the WTCC version a different challenge from a driver’s perspective.  We had our first proper shakedown with the car just before Christmas and hearing the new 1.6 engine fire up was pretty exciting in itself!  The engine was incredibly impressive even on its first run and I can’t wait to see what else it can do when we get our full test programme underway.  We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s great to have such a new challenge.”

Having completed the first shakedown of the 2012 challenger, the Focus will have some additional wind tunnel testing completed. Work on the revised suspension components will also be completed ahead of the FIA technical inspection, which will take place later in the month.

“The team have been working very hard to get the new WTCC car together in time for testing,” added team Principal Mike Earle. The team are planning on testing the new car out in Spain during February, while the 2012 WTCC season gets underway at Monza in March.

He added: “There are more restrictions on the WTCC car than there are on the BTCC version so we’ve had to change a few elements, and of course the tyres and engine are completely different.  The shakedown before Christmas went well, and we’re going to be using the majority of January to work on the car in the factory before getting our test programme fully underway on track.”

Announcements regarding the drivers’ for 2012 will be made in the near future, as negotiations are well underway.

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