Following its best-ever track results in 2008, hopes are high that the coming season of Volkswagen Racing Cup action might provide even greater success for the world’s only racing van – the Caddy TDI.
The crowd-pleasing Caddy van will be back in the hands of its regular pilot, Peter Wyhinny, for ’09 and some fine-tuning in the workshops of Volkswagen Racing UK will, he hopes, mean an improvement on the three podium finishes the turbodiesel van delivered last year.
‘The Caddy is now entering its fifth full season of competition,’ said Wyhinny, ‘and it’s fair to say that it’s now being treated as a very serious competitor… We still have a smile on our faces but our rivals are no longer looking on the racing van idea as a ‘bit of a joke’.
‘Last year the Caddy took a real step forward in performance, but lost a little in terms of reliability. Our objective is to regain that reliability and score better results than in 2008; we are aiming for the podium, to be a real thorn in the sides of the cars and maybe even looking for the first win.’
The Caddy can more than handle the best of the saloon opposition in the Hankook-backed Volkswagen Racing Cup thanks to its 2-litre turbodiesel powerplant, which produces 260 PS and maximum torque of 512 Nm with the help of Volkswagen Racing UK/Superchips mapping. A six-speed gearbox is fitted as well as a bespoke Milltek exhaust system.
Wyhinny, whose day job is at the helm of SEAT UK, says that the twistier tracks on the calendar – and in particular the Knockhill circuit in Scotland – will suit the Caddy’s well-balanced chassis and handling characteristics: ‘There are some circuits where we stand a really good chance, particularly if it is wet. I’m confident that we will repay the faith shown in us by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and in particular by its Director, Simon Elliott, whose understanding of the Caddy race programme as a unique marketing opportunity is a huge boost.’
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook – the first rounds of which take place at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire in mid-April – is additionally supported by Augustus Martin, Castrol, Ceva Logistics, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Milltek Sport, Mondial Assistance, KW Automotive, Superchips, Turbo Dynamics, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services UK.”