Japanese rally driver Toshi Arai will make his circuit racing debut at his home round of the World Touring Car Championship at Suzuka, driving a fourth factory Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T.
Arai, 45, won the Production World Rally Championship in both 2005 and 2007 as part of a long association with Subaru. He had the chance to test the Cruze at Pembrey in Wales last Thursday.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to race my home event of the WTCC and to do it with Chevrolet,” he said. “This will be a new experience for me, but the philosophy of WTCC cars and of the WRC Production Cars I normally drive is the same and I hope I can adapt quickly.
“To debut in the WTCC with the Cruze and the reigning World Champion team is the best proposition one could dream of. I tested the car last week at Pembrey, in the UK, and I was extremely pleased. The Cruze is pleasant to drive and very responsive, and the team extremely professional. Touring car racing and the WTCC are new to me, but I'm anxious to be in Suzuka and I will also be very happy to meet again with Alain Menu, whom I have known at Prodrive years ago.”
Chevrolet Motorsport Europe head Eric Neve added: “It is always a pleasure for Chevrolet to enter a fourth car whenever possible, and we are even happier when we can entrust it to great motorsports figures such as Toshi Arai. We thank the partners that have made possible this initiative. I am convinced that Toshi will do well and that his presence will contribute a lot to the success of the Japanese event.”