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09 September 2011

Chevrolet Cruzes to its second WTCC Manufacturer's Title

Words by Christopher Kho | Photos courtesy of Chevrolet Europe
With six races to spare, Chevrolet clinched its second consecutive Manufacturer's Title in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) last September 3 and 4, 2011 at the Valencia Circuit in Spain. Driving the Chevrolet Cruze, Yvan Muller and Alain Menu snagged a 1-2 finish in race 1. With teammate Rob Huff, the trio crossed the finished line to take all podium positions in race 2. Now, the Chevrolet Factory Team heads over to Asia for the final three rounds in Japan, China, and Macau.
As for the Driver's Title, there's a very big chance that we'll be seeing blue in this year's championship with Muller, Huff, and Menu heading the leader board. Two-time WTCC Champion Yvan Muller has a mere 16-point lead over Huff heading to Japan, making this a real fight to the finish. Alain Menu, on the other hand, has a bit more work to do with his 64-point deficit behind Huff. Although BMW driver Tom Coronel and SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini might have a shot at the title mathematically, either driver would have to win all remaining races and Chevrolet's trio should all finish outside the points - a very unlikely scenario given the Cruze's superior performance this season.
Developed by UK-based Ray Mallock Ltd (RML), the Chevrolet Cruze WTCC race cars are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 285 horsepower - a far cry from the road-going version's 136 horses from the 1.8-liter power plant. Transferring all that grunt is a race-spec six-speed sequential gearbox that puts it down on the pavement via nine-inch wide sticky racing slicks. With a long enough straightaway, the Cruze WTCC race car should reach a top speed of 254 km/h.