Chevrolet and RML are hard at work developing their new 1.6 litre turbocharged engine that will be introduced for the 2011 World Touring Car season.
The unit has been designed, developed and built in-house at RML in Northamptonshire, who are responsible for running the American marque's touring car programme in both the World and British championships. The engine will be track-tested by the team inside the Cruze in the coming days.
The FIA has introduced the 1.6 litre turbocharged engine into both the WTCC and the World Rally Championship for 2011. Chevrolet's rivals BMW and SEAT are also known to be developing their own versions of these units.
Arnaud Martin, Chief Engineer at RML Engines explained: “We started the project from a white sheet of paper on the second week of January and the engine was tested for the first time last Monday, so it has been eight months of very intense work. The parameters laid out by the FIA are quite stringent, especially in terms of reliability; the challenge for us has been to reach a higher level of performance than the one provided by the current 2.0 aspirated engine while ensuring superior reliability to match the new rules: only one engine change allowed during the season in 2011 and none in 2012!. At the moment the engine has had 15 hours on the dynamometer, for tests essentially aimed at calibration and mapping, but we have already done some tests at full power output and everything went as we expected. The next step is to put the engine in the car. Generally, it takes a couple of months to go from the dynamo to the track, here we are talking a couple of weeks, so we can say we are off to some record-breaking!”
Chevrolet currently leads both the drivers' and manufacturers' standings, and although focused on taking both titles this year, they are also keen on getting a head start for next year.
Chevrolet Europe Motorsport Director Eric NÃ¨ve said: “While we are extremely focused on the final rounds of the championship and determined to finish the job, we are also preparing the future. These are days of a lot of work around the new engine and the new car for 2011. Designing a new racing engine from scratch and building it from A to Z is an ambitious programme and a tremendous challenge. Chevrolet has been one of the first manufacturers to believe in the new global race engine promoted by the FIA and we are anxious to hit the track with the new car!”