This is the Citroen that will be driven by Sebastien Loeb in the 2014 FIA World Touring Championship as the brand joins the series for the first time. Based on the Citroen C-Elysee saloon, the WTCC is the first model homologated for the new regulations that come into effect next season, with the series set to kick off in Europe in mid-April.
What is the Citroen C-Elysee?
You may not have heard of the C-Elysee because it’s not on sale in the UK. The C-Elysee saloon, like the Peugeot 301 that shares its underpinnings, has been built for emerging markets including Russia and South America, both places that host WTCC events. It’s also an ideal platform for a competitive racecar. ‘From a strictly technical perspective, the choice of a three-box saloon body was ideal in terms of aerodynamics,’ said Xavier Mestelan-Pinon, technical director of Citroen Racing. ‘C-Elysee was therefore a perfect choice.’
What’s under the bonnet of the racer?
While the cost-conscious road going C-Elysee uses a 1.2-litre three-cylinder, the WTCC version has the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-pot that’s found in Loeb’s WRC DS3. It has 80bhp more than the WRC car, with 380bhp and 295lb ft of torque, and is cloaked in a body that uses both steel and carbonfibre panels to keep weight down to 1100kg with the Frenchman on board. This gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 345bhp/tonne, compared to the WRC car’s 286bhp/tonne and, at the other end of the scale, the 1000bhp/tonne of the Peugeot 208 T16 that Loeb drove to a new record at Pikes Peak.
Is it all-wheel drive?
No, the C-Elysee WTCC uses a Sadev six-speed sequential transmission and carbon-clutch to send power to the front wheels. There are McPherson-type struts both front and rear, with adjustable dampers and brake bias settings at the driver’s disposal to fully exploit the massive 380mm discs and four-pot front calipers. The aero package adds 200mm of overall width to the car, as well as making it 4577mm long, while the C-Elysee sits on 18-inch alloy wheels with 10-inch wide rubber as per the new 2014 regs.
Why the WTCC?
The emerging markets are hugely attractive to Citroen, with massive potential for growth. WTCC is also a cost-conscious series, so should offer a strong return-on-investment in terms of branding and sales – hence the C-Elysee being chosen over one of the brand’s sport-focused DS models. ‘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-Elysee, a key driver of our growth, in front of large crowds enthusiastic motorsport fans,’ said Citroen CEO, Frederic Banzet.