Citroën, an eight-time World Rally Champion, is making its debut in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) this year. The first of the season’s twelve races will be held in Morocco on 12 April. With the new discipline representing a new challenge for Citroën, the C_42 has dedicated its new season to the human challenges that light up the Brand’s past. The new show features vehicles from the Croisière expeditions, cross country rallying, WRC and WTCC, all of them emblematic of the Brand’s spirit of adventure.
Looking for a bold and distinctive way to promote his brand, the visionary André Citroën launched a pioneering automotive expedition in 1922: the Sahara crossing. A considerable technical challenge at the time, the expedition was made possible by the development of new all-terrain half-track technology. The Citroën B2 Half-Track was the first engine-powered car to cross the Sahara Desert, and did so in just 21 days (compared with six months on the hump of a camel!). Galvanised by this technical and media triumph, André Citroën went on to organise even grander expeditions, the famous Croisière Noire in Africa in 1924-1925 and Croisière Jaune in Asia in 1931-1932. These initiatives were true scientific and human adventures at the time, and their international resonance would considerably boost the Brand’s reputation.
The Traction Avant, a classic pre-war model, is celebrating its 80th birthday this year. Unveiled in April 1934, the new model revolutionised the automotive world, consisting almost entirely of rear-wheel-drive vehicles at the time. With its low centre of gravity, all steel monocoque body, light weight and honed aerodynamics, the front- wheel-drive Traction Avant boasted standard-setting handling and roadholding – qualities that have made it a natural for numerous Citroën adventures. Today the “Traction Sans Frontières” organisation travels the world on board a Traction Avant, taking part in vintage car rallies and in humanitarian missions in Europe, Africa and North and South America, clocking up the miles with journeys of 3,500 km / 2,100 miles to 8,500 km / 5,300 miles. The Traction Avant is still very much in the news!
In 1973 Citroën organised a crossing of the Ténéré and Hoggar deserts, with 99 young drivers travelling the 8,000 km from Côte d’Ivoire to Tunisia at the wheels of Citroën 2CVs. Although relatively modestly powered, with just 28 bhp, the 2CV’s simplicity, robustness and lightness were perfect for the tough conditions in the desert, previously considered off limits for two-wheel-drive vehicles. The Citroën 2CV Raid Afrique went on to become a symbol of affordable adventure around the world
Another emblem of Citroën adventures across the globe, the ZX Rallye-Raid is a T3 (prototype) all-terrain vehicle. A major trophy-winner for Citroën in cross-country rallying, it won practically all the competitions in existence, including the Cross-Country Rally World Cup. The Citroën ZX Rallye-Raid brought Citroën five Manufacturers’ titles and Pierre Lartigue four Drivers’ titles in the 1990s, with wins at Baja Aragon, Paris-Dakar (four titles!), Paris-Moscow-Beijing and the Pharaoh Rally. The model on show at the C_42 raced in the 1993 Paris-Dakar with Alain Ambrosino at the wheel.
Citroën chose the C-Elysée to compete in the WTCC for several reasons:
- WTCC races are held in part in the countries that the C-Elysée is sold in
- The three-box body is ideal in terms of aerodynamics
- The overall architecture makes it easier to add racing components.
Hugging the track on its 18-inch wheels and featuring a wider body and numerous aerodynamic accoutrements, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC is a hot-blooded racing car through and through, powered by a 1.6-litre direct- injection turbo developing a full 380 bhp. The car makes its track debut on 12 April in Morocco.
World revealed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, alongside the Citroën C4 Cactus production model, the Citroën C4 Cactus Aventure concept car cuts a distinguished figure with its raised clearance, underbody fairing and roof box. A nod to the Brand’s myriad human adventures, from the 1923 Sahara crossing to the 2012 Electric Odyssey, the unique concept car will soon be setting out on an odyssey across Europe, with two people at the wheel. The 21st century adventure will be a connected one, using the cameras built in to the C4 Cactus Aventure.
Special events for all! Visitors to C_42 get to experience the Citroën Adventure through a range of events and installations:
- The Speed Experience: After the success of the 4D Cinema, the new attraction in the C_42 Racing area brings adventurous visitors an original experience for all the senses, with a heady cocktail of sound, light and wind giving them a first-hand appreciation of how fast Citroën Racing drivers drive!
- RoadTrip: On the first floor, visitors get to select the countries of their choice on a globe using a touchscreen and check out the corresponding photos of Citroën adventures in the locations in question.
- PhotoMobile: This screen installation on the second floor presents photos of Citroën adventures of yesteryear. Visitors make a movement in front of the screen to transpose the landscapes to the present day.
C_42, the brand’s international showcase, is located at number 42 on one of the world’s most prestigious avenues: the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Opened in 2007 in its current form, C_42 is a place for the public to meet and dialogue with the Marque. Season after season, visitors get to find out about the latest Citroën news through theme-based exhibitions starring the brand’s cars and technologies. Open seven days a week from 10 am to 8 pm and until 10 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, C_42 greets an average 1.5 million people every year.