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Chev WTCC Ultra

Broadcast date : 11th February 2007


Chevroletís WTCC Ultra concept car was one of THE stars at the Paris Show a few months ago and it was significant for a number of reasons.

Not only did the race-car appearance and its diesel engine attract attention, but this car represents General Motors new super co-ordinated global strategy in capturing big chunks in diverse markets.

The Chevrolet Ultra is part of a strategy to make the bow-tie name plate a recognisable icon outside the confines of America. And in designing this car, General Motors drew on design teams from all over the globe.

The concept was drawn up at GMís studio in South Korea, while the detail design for the body was handled by General Motorsí Holden division in Australia.

For the construction of the car, which features special carbon fibre bodywork, GM used a Japanese contractor.

As for the motorsport components, Ray Mallock Racing, which runs the Chevrolet World Touring Car Championship programme for GM in the UK, was the obvious choice.

And while the externals were impressive, itís that space-age race interior that had the Fast and Furious sector of the population imploring GM to put this car into production.

The official GM take on the cockpit was that it was "very ergonomic".

The best part about the WTTC or World Touring Car Championship concept car was that it was a driveable car. Not surprising, considering that Chevrolet had a red-letter year in the 2006 WTCC championship.

The Chevrolet Lacetti is GMís model of choice for its European sedan racing.

The Chevrolet four-door sedan competes in what is arguably the most competitive series in Europe and runs an Opel-based two-litre petrol engine developing 210 kilowatts.

With star driver Alain Menu doing the honours, the team run by Ray Mallock Racing scored two significant wins, at Brands Hatch and the Czech Republic.

The WTCC represents the top drawer in touring car racing with the Chev up against the likes of BMW and Seat, and top drivers with F1 experience at the helm.

But for the Ultra concept car Chevrolet decided on a diesel engine which develops 150 kilowatts, following a trend started by Audi with its Le Mans racer.

At the Paris show, this special animated screening drew lots of comment.

The graphics for the Ultra concept car were developed in a joint effort by GMís design centre in India and a Swiss animation specialist company. The carís chief designer, Ewan Kingsbury said that his team drew inspiration from birds of prey.

Other inspirations for the car included the movie Batman Returns.

As with all concept cars, there are no plans to produce the Ultra WTCC as yet. But it does indicate that General Motors and Chevrolet are focussing on motorsport for the future, and making a big push to capture the all important youth market, just as Chevrolet did in America way back in 1955.

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