Photo: Ola Lennström

Swedish Chevrolet team launched

Today in Stockholm Chevrolet Team Sweden launched its’ STCC project in which Nicklas Karlsson will drive a brand new 2007 Chevrolet Lacetti in STCC. The car will be run by his and team manager Eric Lindgrens team Nika Racing and the plan is to drive 5 STCC-races and the WTCC race at Anderstorp, followed by a full STCC-season next year.

The team will make its first appearance this weekend for the test at Anderstorp on Friday followed by the fifth race of the season at the track on Sunday. Nicklas Karlsson can’t wait to drive the car for the first time.

– It’s a new and fantastic feeling to sit here with our own team and a brand new Chevrolet, he says. This was a necessary step to take for us, to choose something new and have something we can control ourselves.

Nicklas keeps the expectations down for this year, emphasizing this is a brand new team and project.

– We have to be humble and can’t talk about victories yet. STCC is very competitive and we are just starting. We know the car can win in WTCC but it has to be adjusted to the Swedish tracks and Michelin tyres so we have a lot of work ahead of us. Pitstops is another difficult factor we haven’t fully trained for yet. If we can be on the pace in the races, we are happy. A top five finish would be like a dream but we need to take one step at a time.

Also present at the launch today was Alain Menu, fresh from his two WTCC victories and he could give some insight on how Chevrolet have developed the new Lacetti.

– This car is identical with the one I drive and the new car is very different from the old one, he explains. The team worked a lot with the aero package and especially with the front-end over the winter. We have a lot more downforce there now which is what you want from a front-wheel drive car. The engine is also really good, the car is faster on the straights. It’s not the fastest car yet but it is really good. The only weak point is probably slow long corners, but it is a really good car which Nicklas will notice.

The fact that Nicklas will race at Anderstorp this weekend and also at the WTCC-race at the same track later this summer gives the Chevrolet WTCC-team an opportunity to gather data from the track early. Nicklas who last year drove the Opel Astra in STCC can’t hide his delight over this new project.

– It’s very difficult to build your own team from scratch in such a competitive championship. But it was necessary, to get a top drive is difficult and we felt we had to do this. And I don’t regret it, this is already more fun than anything else I have done.