New French World Touring Car Championship team RC Motorsport will ensure that the LADA Vesta remains on the grid in 2017, running two cars in the championship, including one for the nephew of Yvan Muller.
The team, who are based at Magny-Cours in France, will enter one of its cars for 20-year-old Yann Ehrlacher, who was testing the car today (Friday).
It means that despite the withdrawal of LADA at the end of 2016, its TC1 cars will remain on the grid, marking the first time that former factory LADAs have passed into independent hands in the championship.
The team will utilise the machinery built and run by LADA Sport, which took three wins in the 2016 season. Some of the team personnel will also move to the independent French outfit.
“This is such an amazing opportunity for me and I really can’t believe it’s happening,” said Ehrlacher, who competed in the European Le Mans Series in 2016 for Yvan Muller Racing.
“I’ve been really impressed with the car in testing and the team is working really hard too. Obviously there is a lot for me to learn and understand, but I know the team has valuable WTCC experience.”
Motorsport runs deep within the Ehrlacher family, as Yann’s mother Cathy was also a competitive single seater racer in the 1980s.
WTCC Promoter François Ribeiro welcomed the news which sees the LADAs remain on the WTCC grid, keeping the field with five different brands for the 2017 season.
“While we’re pleased a solution has been found for the race-winning Vestas to continue competing in the WTCC, we’re also very excited at the prospect of welcoming another talented rookie in Yann Ehrlacher, who has been trained by Yvan Muller, no less, and has been really fast in testing,” said Ribeiro.
“Along with Aurélien Panis, the WTCC has two more young drivers with big potential and it will be interesting to watch their progress and performances in 2017 when I am sure they will both make their mark on the championship.”
Ehrlacher is set to run the number 68, previously made famous by his uncle, four-time champion Muller, in 2015 and 2016.
The identity of the team’s second driver will be revealed in the coming weeks.