Citroën C-Elysée is Seb Loeb’s latest toy

Granted, this news is not exactly rally related, but it features World Rally Champions, Citroën and Sebastien Loeb, so let’s have them anyway. Surely you know Citroën and Loeb will compete in 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship, leading to marque’s reduced involvement in the WRC. What exactly that means, we still don’t know. But their WTCC programme seems to be moving along nicely.

Today Citroën revealed the machine, charged to be their WTCC weapon next year. For global championship they picked a global car, so instead of making yet another version of DS3, they opted for the C-Elysée. It uses 1.6 litre turbocharged engine, delivering 380 HP to front wheels with a help of a 6-speed sequential gearbox.

Who will join Loeb in Citroën’s team, and how many cars they plan to run anyway, remains to be seen. Official PR follows below. Nice new challenge for both the team and the driver, but I am a bit sad… it’s a loss for WRC. And it would be awesome to see Seb competing in Formula 1 for example, but these opportunities were too few.

It will be interesting to see whether we’ll hear similar stories about Citroën’s WTCC project, as we did when Volkswagen announced their arrival on the WRC scene. Is Citroën also going to be accused of just being the biggest spender on the grind, and hence the winner? If these accusations are true, then the concept seems to be working for Volkswagen! Citroën, better bring at least hundred million somethings if you want the titles!

CITROËN C-ELYSÉE WTCC TAKES ON THE WORLD’S CIRCUITS

A month after confirming that it would be entering the World Touring Car Championship in 2014, Citroën can now reveal the model that will be driven on the circuits by Sébastien Loeb. The Citroën C-Elysée WTCC will be the very first vehicle to be designed in accordance with the new regulations, currently being prepared by the FIA for the category next year.

On 26 September of last year, at the opening of the 2012 Paris Motor Show, Frédéric Banzet, Yves Matton and Sébastien Loeb announced that Citroën was considering taking part in the World Touring Car Championship. A few minutes earlier, the C-Elysée had just been unveiled for the first time to the world’s media. Ten months on, these two events come together again with the release of the first pictures of the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC!

Benefitting from the best of the Brand’s expertise in terms of style, development and quality, the Citroën C-Elysée is a C-segment saloon aimed principally at high-growth, international markets such as those in Latin America, the Mediterranean region, China and Russia. Widely acclaimed by customers, the Citroën C-Elysée is already 30% ahead of its initial sales target, with 30,000 orders placed.

“Choosing the C-Elysée as the basis for our WTCC car reflects very clearly our determination to use racing as an active means of supporting our commercial development,” emphasized Frédéric Banzet, CEO of the Citroën Brand. “With rounds in Latin America, Morocco, China and Russia, the WTCC race calendar is genuinely global, and it will be a real advantage to run a C-Elysée, a key driver of our growth, in front of large crowds of enthusiastic motorsport fans.”

“From a strictly technical perspective, the choice of a three-box saloon body was ideal in terms of aerodynamics. C-Elysée was therefore the perfect choice,” added Xavier Mestelan-Pinon, Citroën Racing’s Technical Director. “Apart from this aspect, we were able to install the various components fairly easily. Insofar as this is our first track racing car, we constantly had to ask ourselves questions about the relevance of our choices, but that’s what makes this a particularly exciting challenge.”

Firmly anchored to the tarmac on its 18-inch wheels, the C-Elysée WTCC is quite simply formidable. Featuring an integrated aerodynamic splitter, the front bumper accentuates the radiator grille with its prominent double chevron. The widened front and rear wings lend the car’s bodywork a decidedly racing feel. At the rear, the stylish rear wing will ensure that the car hugs the track.

Under the bonnet, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC is powered by the same 1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged engine as the DS3 WRC. With a wider booster flange, power output is now close to 380bhp. The car comes with a front-wheel drive transmission, controlled by a six-speed sequential gearbox.

After making its first track outing a few days ago, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC has now begun a programme of development tests. The car will make its first public appearance at the Frankfort International Motor Show (12-22 September).

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