Volkswagen will be pursuing new avenues in future Formula 3 events.
The near-250-hp power-plant, initially to be used exclusively in the German ATS Formula 3 Cup from 2012 onwards, will pave the way into a career in professional Formula racing thanks to clearly reduced costs. Larger rebuild intervals and durable build will keep the technical budget within easily calculable and comparatively low limits. In addition to more favourable costs, the Volkswagen Power Engine delivers a notable increase in power compared with conventional engines plus the innovative push-to-pass function that makes for additional suspense on the race track.
“In the area of promoting young talent the ATS Formula 3 Cup represents an important connecting link between entry-level series and international championships. To provide as many young talents with an opportunity to show their abilities as well as securing a sound economic basis for the racing teams, costs must be kept at a reasonable level,” explains Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “The new standard Formula 3 engine from Volkswagen will enable lower budgets from 2012 onwards because it has been purposely designed for low costs and long life. At the same time, its high power and performance capabilities plus the push-to-pass system make it an extremely attractive power-plant from a sporting perspective as well. We’re very pleased to launch this new strategy of the Volkswagen Power Engine together with the organisers of the ATS Formula 3 Cup that will secure the future of Formula 3 in Germany and promises many thrilling races.”
Volkswagen Power Engine cuts costs by 50 per cent
The cost-conscious concept of the Volkswagen Power Engine provides for a racing engine that is usable for a complete season without rebuilds. For about 10,000 kilometres of testing, practice and races within one season, the leasing agreement includes a rebuild fee of 10,000 euros. After a three-year term the engines automatically become the property of the racing team. The new Volkswagen power-plant is a Formula 3-typical two-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with an air restrictor. In the interest of cost reduction the engine is based on a production unit that hardly uses any expensive light-way components. In total, the Volkswagen Power Engine cuts costs by fifty per cent compared with previous Formula 3 engines.”
Push-to-pass function: 33 additional hp by pressing a button
The push-to-pass function is a truly novel feature in Formula 3. A button in the steering wheel allows the drivers to use a power boost of about 33 hp for a few seconds during practice sessions and the races – the output thus increases from 215 to 248 hp (158/182 kW). This will make the Formula 3 races that typically see extremely close battles for every metre even more attractive due to additional overtaking manoeuvres and new tactical considerations. Lamps on the roll-over bar will immediately tell TV spectators and the trackside crowd which driver is making use of this power boost and is getting ready to pass a rival. Volkswagen successfully launched push-to-pass function in 2010 in the Scirocco R-Cup, the first ever one-make cup to feature such a system, and has been rewarded with extremely exciting races. Formula 1 legends like Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert or the World Rally Champion and “Dakar” winner Carlos Sainz were obviously thrilled with the efficiency of the system and the numerous overtaking manoeuvres it enables.
Successful debut for new powerplant at Oschersleben
At the ATS Formula 3 Cup’s season finale at Oschersleben the first unit of the Volkswagen Power Engine made its race track debut: Laurens Vanthoor, the current champion of Germany’s fastest Formula racing series, drove the near-250-hp Dallara-Volkswagen in two test sessions and immediately recorded the fastest time of the day. “This is any racer’s dream: a power boost by pressing a button,” raves the 19-year-old Belgian. “The push-to-pass function is a real plus and will ensure that spectators get to see more overtaking manoeuvres. In addition, the drivers can use it for tactical purposes.”