► Could a C3 hot hatch be on the way?
► Citroen’s motorsport boss talks to CAR
► Would be less sporty, more ‘feelgood’, than a Peugeot GTi
Citroen Racing is mulling a line of performance road cars to capitalise on its WRC return.
Jean-Marc Finot, head of motorsport for Citroen and Peugeot’s parent company PSA, told CAR his team are currently figuring out what direction such potential models could take.
‘It is a people-minded brand, so such a vehicle must be in the feel-good category, between a standard car and a performance car like the [Peugeot] GTi,’ he reveals.
What shape that might take isn’t set in stone: a 300bhp and four-wheel drive C3 would be expensive and wouldn’t sell; anything less would tread on the Peugeot 208 and 308 GTi; and if Citroën Racing didn’t apply itself properly we’d end up with another C4 by Loeb (below).
You get the feeling Finot would like to build a standalone Citroen model, especially when Renaultsport has done just that with the rejuvenated Alpine brand, and even if Peugeot has also been down that route before with the defunct RCZ.
‘We have many options, and we have the freedom. It’s possible to make such a car [like the Alpine] and for someone keen on motorsport and sports cars it’s also very interesting, but this kind of project will only be decided upon if this business case is in black at the bottom line…’
Finot currently presides over racing activities for three brands: Peugeot (in long-distance rallying and TCR touring cars), DS (in Formula E), and Citroen (in WRC).
One day soon, perhaps that will be all five brands, because once the final deal is done between General Motors and PSA, Vauxhall and Opel will come under French control, and then VXR and OPC will be looking for a home…
‘We haven’t had any discussions yet, but there would be synergies,’ reveals Finot. ‘We merged Citroën Racing with Peugeot Sport one year ago and now we have around 300 people and an engine department, a chassis department and a workshop dedicated to all our brands. We also have a customer competition department, which is charge of the development of sports cars like the 308 GTi or DS Performance, together with competition cars like the 308 TCR we are developing for next year.’
Which either sounds like clever cross-party collaboration or the start of PSA going down the same route as a certain German conglomerate which has long struggled to differentiate its fast VWs, Seats and Skodas…
‘A GTi will be sportier,’ states Finot. ‘The DS Performance line will focus upon luxury – powerful cars with a luxury twist.’