RML is to introduce a number of updates for its six Chevrolet Cruze TC1 cars for the final four World Touring Car Championship events of the season.
The British-based touring car experts have been working on updates to the car’s suspension geometry and aerodynamics, which will be applied for the next event in Beijing in just two weeks’ time.
“We have worked hard with our customers to try and bring value for money updates,” explained RML’s Head of Design Mark Way. “One thing with having three different teams running is you know if they all have the same feedback then it’s actually happening!
“So we have reacted to drivers’ and engineers’ feedback in developing new suspension geometry and also reviewed some areas where we were time bound in the initial design phase such as the aero.”
In order to test the updates, Campos Racing flew Hugo Valente’s car back after the previous round in Argentina at the start of August, allowing limited track time. In addition to regular drivers Valente and Dušan Borković, Campos also tested European Touring Car Cup racer Mato Homola.
“Campos did a great job in flying a car back during the Argentina / Beijing gap and we worked with them on a development program and testing of new parts at Barcelona,” added Way. “The parts have been driven by their drivers and they have also tested some new drivers, so we are pretty confident they are a step forward.
“I do not expect the other manufacturers have spent all summer by the pool but the gains we have seen have translated on the stop watch. Due to the track configuration, I expect them to show at Shanghai more than Beijing.”
With the three RML teams ROAL Motorsport, Campos Racing and Münnich Motorsport all competing independently against the works’ Citroën, Honda and LADA teams, Way admits that progress away from the race weekends has been difficult to make.
“We have three great customer teams but they have limited resources and budget, and we are not a works backed program,” he explained. “We don’t have a test car or development budget. Testing outside of a race weekend has been limited and therefore the optimisation phase of the program has been slow.
“Optimising a race car during and for a specific race weekend is one thing, developing a race car over a race weekend is another. Having said that, the RML Cruze is the only car other than Citroën to have qualified on pole and won a race so far this season which I think is an amazing testimony to the basic design and the determination of all the teams.”
Way says that discussions are ongoing regarding support for the 2015 season and onwards, with RML themselves not yet revealing whether they intend to return to the series as a competing team or manufacturer-supported entry.
“Yes, we have a good idea of other areas where we can find further gains,” said Way. “Of course we are not able to progress in the way RML would normally expect to and we respect the limitations within which our customer teams are operating. We are actively discussing 2015 options with our customer teams at the moment. Watch this space!”