Chevrolet bows out of BTCC
1 February 2012 – Chevrolet has withdrawn its involvement from the British Touring Car Championship as a works manufacturer, preferring to concentrate on defending its World Touring Car titles. The team has been run by RML (Ray Mallock Ltd), which managed to clinch three drivers' titles in 2010 across the LMP2, BTCC and WTCC championships.
After winning the Drivers' Championship in the 2010 BTCC season, Chevrolet and lead driver Jason Plato failed to defend their crown in 2011, losing out to the Honda Racing Team and Matt Neal.
A statement from Chevrolet UK explains: "Chevrolet and RML have today announced that they will not be involved in the 2012 BTCC, but will instead focus their resources on retaining their WTCC crowns where it is clear that other manufactures will be upping their commitment for the coming season."
Mark Terry, Managing Director of Chevrolet UK, said the company's main goal was to raise attention of their Cruze range, stating: "For the past two years we've enjoyed a very successful BTCC campaign, winning the Drivers' Championship in 2010 and achieving our primary objective of raising awareness of the Cruze range in the UK. That phase is now complete and, with the introduction of the new five-door Cruze, we will focus our marketing efforts in a more traditional way. I would like to wish RML the very best for 2012 and thank our many fans for their support over the last two years."
Plato, who won the 2010 Drivers' Championship with Chevrolet, announced his move to MG KX Momentum racing and his subsequent two-year contract less than a week ago. Notwithstanding Chevrolet's departutre, RML is keen to remain in the championship as a team.
"Despite the fact that we won't be involved in 2012, RML remain long-term supporters of the BTCC and hope to be back in the future," says George Lendrum, Managing Director of RML.
The 2012 BTCC season begins at Brands Hatch on 1 April.