CITROËN says it will start testing its new R5-specification C3 car this week and plans to have it ready for customer racing next season.
The Citroën would be eligible in WRC 2, joining rival WRC teams M-Sport (Ford) and Hyundai in one of the sport’s most highly competitive series. Toyota Gazoo Racing has indicated it will consider an R5 version of the WRC Yaris some time in the future.
Designed for private teams and drivers, the cost-capped R5s are often described as “mini-WRCs” because of their technical specifications, including four-wheel drive, 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engine generating about 280bhp and asequential semi-automatic gearbox.
“We are reaching an important milestone this week with the first development tests of the car, which is already close to the finished product,” Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton said.
“The specifications given to the technical teams are clear: we want the Citroën C3 R5 to set new standards in the category, in terms of performance, reliability and controlled operating costs. In order to create an entirely new product, we used all of Citroën Racing’s experience in the WRC, adding contributions from leading technical suppliers such as Sadev for the transmission and Reiger for the suspension systems.
“Our works drivers will also be taking part in development of the car: Stéphane Lefebvre and Craig Breen are driving in this first session, along with Yoann Bonato, the current leader of the French Rally Championship.”