LADA Sport LUKOIL tested its brand new LADA Granta TC1 World Touring Car for the first time last week, with the team’s two British drivers – Rob Huff and James Thompson – taking the wheel of the new 2014-spec racer at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France.
Dry and sunny conditions allowed the burgeoning Russian team to complete a full program of testing and development work over the course of the two days.
The layout of the historic Magny-Cours circuit – the former home of the Formula One French Grand Prix – with its high-speed straights and an eclectic array of corners was the ideal venue for the new generation LADA Granta’s track debut.
Huff – the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Champion – and double British Touring Car Champion James Thompson gave high praise to the levels of car preparation, its increased speed, power and straight-line performance, as well as its cornering capabilities.
“The team did a great job to make a car in compliance with the WTCC’s new technical rules,” said LADA Sport LUKOIL Team Principal Victor Shapovalov. “The LADA Granta TC1 is completely different to its predecessor – both in terms of new parts and elements and in terms of the whole approach to car building from the point of geometry. We widely used the experiences we gained during the previous season, but more flexible technical rules allowed us to make the car more competitive due to some innovative suspension development solutions.
“At the same time, the advantages of the Granta’s short wheelbase are still with us – in particular, its maneuverability. With the advent of the new regulations, we have been able to solve some problems we experienced in 2013, while retaining the core benefits of the base car. The new engine, made by LADA Sport LUKOIL’s partner ORECA, gives the car even more potential. In particular, the acceleration at the corner exits has improved significantly. On the whole, the team is satisfied with the first shakedown. The primary objective was to ensure all of the car’s systems were working in harmony, given the enormously increased engine and braking performance. The initial runs confirmed that the team has managed to find the best balance of the car.”
LADA Sport LUKOIL will carry out one more test session before the start of the 2014 FIA WTCC season, with all three drivers – Huff, Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy in attendance.