Seb Loeb has had another gorgeous racecar built for him, just weeks after stepping out of his Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak super-rally car – after smashing the course record – but this time he’s taking to the tarmac fulltime. This wide ‘n’ mean, new Citroen racer is the C-Elysee WTCC, and it’ll be competing in the 2014 WTCC season on racetracks all over the world.
The idea being that some WTCC race successes will promote Citroen’s new 3-box saloon, the C-Elysee, to a global audience of potential buyers. Race on Sunday; sell on Monday, as they say. Well, it looks good, and that’s a good start, and Loeb never seems to put a race-booted foot wrong behind the wheel, so it could well be a dream WTCC team.
Unlike the Unlimited Peugeot 208 T16, the C-Elysee WTCC challenger’s spec is governed by strict FIA rules so will have to have the same power, weight and basic dimensions as the other racecars, but under that wide bodywork there’s still a pretty tasty racing spec.
From the racetrack upwards we see lightweight, multi-spoke 18-inch wheels, a circuit-style front bumper with a corner-grabbing integrated aerodynamic splitter, super-wide front and rear wings to allow for a wider wheel-track, and, of course, a rather large and beautifully crafted rear wing to double the downforce.
Under the bonnet there’s a tried and tested powerplant; the same one as used to great effect in the Citroen DS3 WRC car – a 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder, direct injection turbocharged petrol engine. This variant of the peppy little motor gets some extra help to make some extra power mind, with a wider booster flange in the intake to push the output to a useful 380bhp. The grunt goes to the track via the front wheels and a 6-speed sequential gearbox.
The FIA WTCC rules dictate that the original car’s bodyshell must be used, but this one is lightened and stiffened to the nth degree, and laced up with a full rollcage. Trick electronics, plenty of carbon and adjustable everything gives the C-Elysee WTCC the racer’s edge, and with a minimum weight of 1,100kg with the driver, this is still a light racecar.
The freshly launched Citroen C-Elysee road car is a C-segment saloon that’s mostly aimed at high-growth, international markets like Latin America, the Mediterranean region, China and Russia, and with markets this spread out, it’s a good a idea to race on the global stage to entice those global customers. Let’s just hope their all watching TV at the right time.
By Dan Anslow