Chevrolet have announced they will leave the World Touring Car Championship at the end of the 2012 season.
After joining the championship at its launch in 2005, the American marque have dominated the series for the past few years, winning the manufacturers' and drivers' titles in 2010 and 2011 with Yvan Muller.
They are set for a third-straight success in 2012 with Muller and his teammates Rob Huff and Alain Menu at the head of the standings.
Chevrolet Europe President and Managing Director Susan Docherty said the move had been made to focus their marking activities elsewhere.
“Following a strategic review of our motorsport and marketing programs we have decided to leave the FIA World Touring Car Championship at the end of the 2012 season to focus our Chevrolet brand activities in other areas,” said Docherty.
“We are extremely proud of the two double World Titles we have won in the Series and of the 59 victories over the last eight years. The WTCC has been a powerful brand platform and showcase for Chevrolet in Europe and markets throughout the world. Chevrolet and RML now aim to go out on a high, by securing our third World titles together.
“Chevrolet's WTCC drivers, Yvan Muller, Rob Huff and Alain Menu finished first, second and third in the 2011 season, an achievement unmatched by any other brand in the past. In the current 2012 season, they again hold the top three spots in the drivers' rankings. Yvan, Rob and Alain are more than great racing drivers. They are exemplary brand ambassadors for Chevrolet, embodying Louis Chevrolet's can-do spirit every time they race.”
Chevrolet Motorsport Manager Eric Neve said: “Naturally, making this announcement comes with very mixed emotions. This has been an amazing journey from our first season through to the double championship wins with the Cruze.
“We are extremely proud of the success we have achieved, including giving GM its first FIA World Champion titles, and would like to thank and pay tribute to the WTCC, RML, our drivers, partners and fans. We are now all focused on the remainder of season and bringing home the third double Championship titles for Chevrolet.”
RML boss Ray Mallock added: “Everyone at RML is very proud of the multiple Championships we have won for Chevrolet in the WTCC. I would like to thank Eric, Chevrolet and General Motors for this most productive partnership.
“Over the last eight years we have played a key role in promoting and building the Chevrolet brand across the world and the success of this programme has also been a great platform to develop the RML brand globally. RML works for several major car companies in supporting their motorsport and road car marketing programmes.
“Overall the business continues to grow and we currently have more active enquiries from major OEM's than at anytime in our history. We aim to continue winning in every category in which we compete. It goes without saying, that the whole RML team remain very focused on securing both the 2012 WTCC Drivers' and Constructors' Championships.”
Chevrolet had experienced a lack of competition within the series in the past two years following the withdrawals of BMW and SEAT, but looked set to be joined by other manufacturers Honda and Lada for next year.
Chevrolet said the announcement had been made at this stage of the season to allow its drivers and the RML outfit to plan for the future.