Citroen have confirmed their entry into the World Touring Car Championship for 2014 with Sebastien Loeb as their first driver.
Citroen and Loeb will join the WTCC after winning nine consecutive World Rally Championship drivers’ titles between 2004 and 2012.
As Loeb retired from full-time participation in the WRC at the end of last year, he and Citroen publicly revealed their desire to enter the WTCC. This year, Loeb has been focussed on circuit racing, campaigning a McLaren in the FIA GT Series with his own team and entering rounds of the Porsche Supercup.
“Citroen Racing has spent the last few months looking in detail at the opportunity of going ahead with this programme,” said Frederic Banzet, CEO of the Citroen brand. “The WTCC is based on several aspects that are essential to Citroen: extensive media coverage, regulations that keep costs down and a genuinely global race calendar.
“Our involvement in this championship will give us not only another chance to showcase our ‘Creative Technologie’ but it will also help us to develop the brand in promising, growth markets such as China, Russia and South America. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our longstanding partner, Total, who will remain at our side for this new adventure.”
Yves Matton, Citroen Racing boss, added: “Competing in a category for the first time, starting from scratch, gives our division a superb challenge. Having said that, we will be able to re-use a large part of our existing expertise, starting with the DS3 WRC’s 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engine.
“Work has already begun in our Versailles technical centre and is set to be stepped up in the coming weeks, with the first tests of our car and the start of our development programme to prepare for the 2014 season.”
Loeb said: “First of all, I am pleased that this has been confirmed. It’s a bit of a dream to think that we are going to write a new chapter in our history. I can’t wait to get out on track in the car and start testing. I have used this transitional year to try out various experiences and to improve my track driving skills. I don’t expect to win straight away, but I am determined to get there one day.”