Touring car star Alan Blencowe is to be the driving force behind Anna Walewska’s bid for stardom this season in the Volkswagen Racing Cup with Fuchs Lubricants. Anna’s Golf GTI – a championship-winning car in the hands of Tony Gilham in 2007 – is to be prepared by Blencowe’s team, with Alan planning to guide Anna to success as part of her plan to reach the BTCC by 2012.
Anna is one of a host of drivers planning on making a return to the championship for what series director Melissa Wright says will be its ‘best-ever season’.
Twenty-three-year-old Walewska made her Volkswagen Racing Cup debut last year, finishing all bar one of her 14 races to claim championship seventh. She came on strongly in the latter part of the season, claiming top-six finishes at the final rounds at Brands Hatch. ‘It was very much a learning year for me… In terms of sprint racing and front-wheel-drive, it took me a while to get my head into gear; towards the end of the year it wasn’t so much of a problem.
‘I’m hoping that this year will be very successful. It’s the same car and with Blencowe running it, with his wealth of knowledge and experience, I really hope that it’s going to be successful. My long-term plan is to do well in VW Cup, maybe tackle the Renault Clio series next year and then BTCC the year after.’
Surrey-based Anna, who started her competition career at age 10 in karts and who at 14 became the youngest-ever female holder of a UK racing licence when she competed in T-Cars, is backed by SpaCars.co.uk and Nitron. She races in support of the cerebral palsy charity, Scope.
Alan Blencowe Racing hopes to field two or three cars in the Volkswagen Racing Cup. ‘Anna is our first signed driver,’ said Blencowe, ‘and we hope to sign at least one other. Team-mates push each other on a bit and it’s the best way to make progress in a championship. Anna got on well in 2009 and hopefully we can build on her experience and progress a bit and have a good, successful season.’
RACE WINNERS RETURN
Also planning a return to the Volkswagen Racing Cup for the coming season are race-winners Michael Kurton, James Walker and Darren Blumson.
Kurton is to return at the wheel of his Scirocco and Walker will once again campaign a Golf GTI. Blumson, who in 2009 capped a remarkable comeback from serious illness by winning the final round at Brands Hatch, has sold his Beetle RSI and will instead campaign a Polo 1.8T.
‘I had already agreed to sell the Beetle before I won with it, and in fact was looking at moving to another championship,’ said Darren. ‘But over the winter I looked again at the Volkswagen Racing Cup and what it offered, and decided I had to stay.
‘The Polo is going to be a whole new ball game for me – I’ve never raced a turbo before, and it is 250kg lighter than the Beetle. It’s undergoing a lot of work to bring it up to pace. Hopefully its lightness will make up for the relative lack of power and we can have some fun at the front.’
Blumson’s Beetle is now in the hands of Tony Harberman, who has attracted backing from theWheelSpecialist.co.uk to campaign the championship. ‘I’ve had a great time with my Golf VR6,’ said Tony, ‘but the Beetle is going to be a much more competitive prospect, as Darren proved at the end of 2009. I’m looking forward to the challenge.’
Other drivers confirmed for 2010 include Richard Styrin, the racing returnee who made the podium on his championship debut at Brands Hatch last September; Europcar’s Michael McInerney, who is to switch from a Golf to a Jetta; Aaron Mason, who claimed championship third in ’09, his rookie season; veteran Golf racer Steve Walker; Caddy pilot Simon Elliott; and Richard Kingsnorth, who returns with his four-wheel-drive Golf after a season away.
One driver not coming back for more is reigning double champion Joe Fulbrook, who has put up for sale his turbocharged Bora, the victor of nine races in its five seasons at the top with Joe. ‘I’m not planning to defend my title, which is a shame but it’s time to move on,’ he said.
‘We are very sorry to be losing Joe,’ said RacingLine director Wright, ‘but five years is a long time in any championship. We wish Joe all the best with his future endeavors. The Racing Cup speeds on, however, and we already know of 20-plus drivers planning on being ready for the first round. It’s shaping up to be our best-ever season.’
The championship, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, kicks off at Oulton Park at Easter (3-5 Apr) and features double-header races at Snetterton, Rockingham, Donington Park and the Grand Prix circuits at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, as well as its first overseas event, at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.
The Volkswagen Racing Cup with Fuchs Lubricants is additionally supported by Augustus Martin, Ceva Logistics, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Hankook, Milltek Sport, Mondial Assistance, KW Automotive, Superchips, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services UK.
- Volkswagen Racing Cup