New Chevrolet Cruze Starts Winter Tests In Portugal
Chevrolet's 2009 WTCC contender, the Cruze, continued its extensive test and development programme with a first public test at the Portuguese Estoril track yesterday and today. The test follows on the initial private tests at the MIRA proving grounds in the UK and at Guadix in Spain. The test and development programme will continue throughout the winter months at different tracks across southern Europe.
Today's test at Estoril also marked the very last time the current model, the Chevrolet Lacetti, was used in a testing capacity. The successful Lacetti will bow out at the season's final races in Macau in two weeks' time, after which the team will only concentrate on developing and building the new Cruze. At Estoril, both cars were driven by Alain Menu and Rob Huff; the back-to-back test being used to set a baseline for the Cruze.
Rob Huff: "The Cruze is a great car and feels fast straight out of the box. We obviously still are at the very early stages of development but already now you can feel how much better it handles and what an advantage the wider track will be in the races."
Alain Menu: "It was the first time I drove the Cruze and I can already tell the car feels good. The wider track makes it easier to drive in certain portions of the circuit, while lap times show promise but also indicate the amount of work still needed. The car responds well to all set-up changes which should make it easier for us to make progress throughout the winter months."
Eric Nève: "It is always a special moment to see a new race car out on a real race track for the first time. The Cruze is Chevrolet Europe's new core model and the launch of the new road car in the showrooms blends in perfectly with the start of the 2009 season, so the WTCC car will once again have an important role to play for the market place. With the success and experience we have gained in the past four seasons incorporated in this new race car, I am convinced that the Cruze can achieve new ambitions for Chevrolet in the WTCC."