Prodrive to field Renault in 2018 World RX

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MOTORSPORT and technology concern Prodrive will develop a new Renault Megane RX Supercar for the newly-formed GCK team of French driver Guerlain Chicherit to campaign in the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship, Prodrive announced last week.

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The Banbury, England based Prodrive will build the new Renault Megane RX Supercar over the next few months, a project that will include the development of a custom-designed 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The car is based on the Megane IV.

The new car is scheduled to be formally unveiled at the ninth round of World RX at Loheac, France in September, the company said, with testing ahead of the 2018 season to follow.

Frenchman Chicherit is a former Free Skiing World Champion, FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winner, Dakar driver and world record-breaking stunt driver. He had previously expressed an interest in forming a team for the World Rallycross, entering select races in 2015 and 2016 for JRM Racing to gain some hands-on experience. His best finish in six races to date was 16th at the Italian round of the 2015 World RX season.

According to Prodrive, Chicherit plans to again race in selected RX events in 2017, but what car he will drive has not yet been disclosed. The GCK team will run its first full season in 2018.

Primarily known for developing rally and circuit cars, Prodrive made its first foray into rallycross in 2013, scoring a victory with British driver Liam Doran at the X Games in Munich in the maiden outing of its Mini RX, modified from its existing WRC platform.

Prodrive Chairman David Richards commented, “It has long been an ambition of ours to compete in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. It is the fastest growing motor sports series in the world and gives us the opportunity to use all our engineering experience to create a car capable of winning the world title. Guerlain is obviously a very talented driver and we look forward to working with him and developing a race car that both he and Renault will be proud of.”

For his part, Chicherit said, “I’m so stoked to be working with the guys from Prodrive to build what has been my dream for a long time. I know that with the right team and the support we have, we’ll be able to produce a car that will really make an impact in the paddock. I absolutely trust Prodrive to build the best car and I’m excited to bring my brand and partners to the championship in 2018.”

In a separate statement, World RX managing director Paul Bellamy was likewise enthusiastic about Chicherit’s impending entry. “It is extremely encouraging to hear that Guerlain will be entering his own team into the FIA World Rallycross Championship using Prodrive’s years of expert knowledge and experience to design the new Megane RX,” he said. “Guerlain is an extremely experienced athlete and we look forward to welcoming him and his new team to our sport full-time from next year.”

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