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Citroën readying ‘rally mode’ for Nürburgring test

Citroën’s World Touring Car Championship engineers will have to “completely review” their set-up options, as the team takes part in today’s official WTCC Nürburgring Nordschleife test.

All four works drivers will be taking part in the official WTCC test at the 170-turn Nordschleife today, with the drivers uniquely using their own race cars during the test, as opposed to using a bespoke test and development chassis.

The event, which will be a showcase for the WTCC, has required significant preparation, with the drivers needing to familiarise themselves with the 25.9 km circuit. Moreover, the circuit presents a significant challenge to the team’s engineers, although Citroën Racing Technical Director Xavier Mestelan alludes to the team’s rallying background as an advantage for the French outfit.

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“More than anything, it’s a meeting that has required a lot of preparation from the drivers,” said Mestelan of the meeting which takes place in mid-May. “A few months ago, they went and did a few laps of the Nordschleife in mass-produced cars. They then carried on the process of memorising the track on our simulator. Now, we’re going to be able to put all that into practice.

“It’s hard to sum up a circuit like that in just a few words, but we already know that we’ll have to have our cars sitting rather higher than usual because of the bumpy surface.

“It’s not a rally, but we’ll have to completely review our setup in terms of suspension and aerodynamics. The circuit also poses a major challenge for the engine, with one long straight which requires the cars to maintain top speed for almost 40 seconds.”

With all four drivers participating in their own cars, the team will focus on comparing the data from each to maximise the opportunity to analyse the data.

“The length of the circuit will force us to change our approach,” added Mestelan. “On a 26 km track, we obviously won’t be able to work bend-by-bend as we normally do. We’ll have to divide the circuit into sections and find the best compromises we can.

“The cars will have to be easy to drive, but also precise in their handling due to the various hidden turns.”

Testing around the Nordschleife takes place between 08:00 and 17:00 local time.

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