Citroën has confirmed the much-expected news that it will join the FIA World Touring Car Championship next season, with nine-time World Rally Championship winner Sébastien Loeb to headline its driver line-up.
The French carmaker has been linked with a WTCC campaign since the latter half of last year, with the prospect of a proper campaign firming when it announced that it was evaluating a potential circuit-racing programme.
The announcement followed Loeb’s own announcement that he was retiring from full-time rallying at the end of the 2012 season, leading many to predict that the Frenchman would lead its driver line-up.
The rumours firmed further still with Loeb joining the FIA GT Series and Porsche Supercup championships in 2013 as he sought to develop his circuit-racing skills.
And so the programme has come together, with Citroën Racing making its announcement on Tuesday night.
“The WTCC is based on several aspects that are essential to Citroën: extensive media coverage, regulations that keep costs down and a genuinely global race calendar,” Frédéric Banzet, CEO of Citroën said.
“Our involvement in this championship will give us not only another chance to showcase our Créative Technologie but it will also help us to develop the Brand in promising, growth markets such as China, Russia and South America.”
Citroën is now the third manufacturer – alongside Honda and LADA – to commit to the WTCC for the 2014 season, which will be the first run under the series’ brand-new technical regulations.
“We are confident that their arrival joint to the new generations of racing cars will contribute to further enhance the championship’s popularity and visibility worldwide.”
“It’s a bit of a dream to think that we are going to write a new chapter in our history,” Loeb added.
“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.”