PRODRIVE

TO HEAD UP RE­NAULT WRX BID

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By David Evans Full story, p2-3

Prodrive and Re­nault have joined forces in an as­sault on the FIA World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship.

The French man­u­fac­turer is the lat­est car firm to sign up to the in­creas­ingly in­flu­en­tial se­ries and Prodrive chair­man David Richards is de­lighted to be in­volved in the project.

Richards said: “It has long been an am­bi­tion of ours to com­pete in the FIA World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship. It is the fastest grow­ing motorsport se­ries in the world and gives us the op­por­tu­nity to use all our en­gi­neer­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to cre­ate a car ca­pa­ble of win­ning the world ti­tle.”

The Me­gane RX Su­per­car will be de­vel­oped and built at Prodrive’s Ox­ford­shire fac­tory with French­man Guer­lain Chicherit lined up to drive in the 2018 sea­son.

The Re­nault will be Prodrive’s sec­ond RX car, hav­ing de­vel­oped the Mini RX in 2013.

Prodrive is about to em­bark on the devel­op­ment of a Re­nault Me­gane RX Su­per­car – sig­nalling the Ban­bury firm’s re­turn to global off-road motorsport for the first time since it aban­doned its Mini World Rally Cham­pi­onship pro­gramme in 2012.

Prodrive is join­ing French driver Guer­lain Chicherit to work on the lat­est ral­ly­cross en­try. Prodrive is, of course, no stranger to ral­ly­cross, hav­ing de­vel­oped its Mini World Rally Car chas­sis into a suc­cess­ful RX racer.

Prodrive chair­man David Richards ad­mit­ted the deal with Chicherit was the con­clu­sion of a long-held de­sire to com­pete in ral­ly­cross on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

Richards said: “It has long been an am­bi­tion of ours to com­pete in the FIA World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship. It is the fastest grow­ing motorsport se­ries in the world and gives us the op­por­tu­nity to use all our en­gi­neer­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to cre­ate a car ca­pa­ble of win­ning the world ti­tle. Guer­lain is ob­vi­ously a very tal­ented driver and we look for­ward to work­ing with him and de­vel­op­ing a race car that both he and Re­nault will be proud of.”

Former WRC com­peti­tor Chicherit added: “I’m so stoked to be work­ing with the guys from Prodrive to build what has been my dream for a long time. I know that with the right team and the sup­port we have, we’ll be able to pro­duce a car that will re­ally make an im­pact in the pad­dock. I ab­so­lutely trust Prodrive to build the best car and I’m ex­cited to bring my brand and part­ners to the FIA World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship in 2018.”

Best re­mem­bered for lift­ing six World Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tles – and crown­ing both Colin Mcrae and Richard Burns – in the Subaru Im­preza, Prodrive has since spread its en­gi­neer­ing know-how into other ar­eas. Bri­tain’s Amer­ica’s Cup chal­lenge is kept on course cour­tesy of wiring and con­trol sys­tems aboard the Ben Ainslie Rac­ing boat de­vel­oped and pro­duced by Prodrive.

The fu­elling sys­tems used in Rolls-royce jet en­gines are also built in Ban­bury as are most of the com­pos­ite com­po­nents in the UK’S lead­ing sports and lux­ury car man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Motorsport rep­re­sents just 40 per cent of Prodrive’s busi­ness turnover to­day, but its GT rac­ing pro­gramme with As­ton Martin Rac­ing has kept the world ti­tles – in­clud­ing last year’s FIA WEC GT Driv­ers’ – com­ing to Ox­ford­shire.

One of Prodrive’s finest mo­ments in re­cent years came with Mark Higgins’s record-break­ing run around the 38-mile Isle of Man TT course. The Manx­man drove a 600bhp Subaru WRX built, de­vel­oped and run by Prodrive at an av­er­age speed of 128.730mph.

Prodrive’s joint ven­ture with Chicherit is the lat­est in a line of ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments for the FIA World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship. Two-time ti­tle win­ner Pet­ter Sol­berg re­cently an­nounced his switch to a Volk­swa­gen Polo RX Su­per­car built and de­vel­oped by Volk­swa­gen Motorsport in Han­nover, but run by his own PSRX squad, while Swedish star Mat­tias Ek­strom’s ti­tle de­fence will come with ad­di­tional back­ing from Audi.

Link with Re­nault has tempted Prodrive to join the World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship Prodrive has en­tered a joint ven­ture with driver Guer­lain Chicherit for the Me­gane

Richards: WRX am­bi­tions

FIA World Ral­ly­cross is a high-pro­file arena The styling of the new Me­gane is very ag­gres­sive

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