We cannot wait for season to start! If we had the $$$ to start a team in the states, we would with a 3.2-litre New Beetle! Enter SPEED World -Challenge TC, Grand-Am Koni Challenge? ALMS GT2
The Beetles are back with a bang in 2008, boosted by the adoption of the 3.2-litre version of Volkswagen’s lusty V6 engine, which could well turn the Beetle back into a championship chaser. Steve Chaplin (Maisemore) returns with his ‘Herbie’-inspired car, and Darren Blumson (Reigate) and Paul Lloyd-Roach (Isle of Man) have similarly updated machinery at their disposal. Championship newcomer Nick Dunn (Leeds) will race a 2.8 Beetle while the fourth 3.2 RSI will be handled by 2006 championship runner-up
Britain’s liveliest saloon car championship, the Volkswagen Racing Cup, is set for another bumper season of excitement with more new-model Volkswagens on the grid than in any previous season, several returning race winners and new drivers, and a very healthy Diesel Cup class.
The opening rounds of the Hankook-backed championship take place at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire on Easter Monday (24 March).
Taking centre stage this season is Volkswagen’s latest track challenger, a supercharged and turbocharged Jetta saloon. In road-going form the Jetta TSI Sport’s 1.4-litre, 16-valve engine produces 170 PS but the engineers at Volkswagen Racing UK, with the help of their technology partners at Superchips, Milltek Sport and Turbo Dynamics, have boosted this to 230 PS. evo magazine editor Jethro Bovingdon will be giving this remarkable racing technology its track debut at Oulton, and other motoring journalists will go behind the wheel during the course of the season.
The Golf GTI was the success story of the 2007 season, examples of the breed winning five races and claiming championship victory in the hands of Tony Gilham. At Oulton there will be seven GTIs on the grid, with the posse led by reigning vice-champion Steve Wood (Gloucester), whose aim is to go one better in ’08. Golf GTIs will also be in the hands of by Addison Lee plc managing director Liam Griffin (Brookmans Park), John Quartermaine (Farnham Royal), who has taken over the championship-winning Gilham machine, Europcar-backed Michael McInerney (Datchet), Mike Kurton (Corse Lawn) and Keith Garages-sponsored Jamie Perry (Castle Hedingham), who was a race winner in ’07.
Golf GTI pilot James Griffiths will at 17 be the youngest driver on the grid, and he’ll be making his championship debut on home turf – James lives 10 minutes from Oulton Park, at Nantwich. An eighth Golf GTI is expected on the grid later in the season, prepared by Voodoo Motorsport for ex-Porsche racer Sam Edwards.
The Beetles are back with a bang in 2008, boosted by the adoption of the 3.2-litre version of Volkswagen’s lusty V6 engine, which could well turn the Beetle back into a championship chaser. Steve Chaplin (Maisemore) returns with his ‘Herbie’-inspired car, and Darren Blumson (Reigate) and Paul Lloyd-Roach (Isle of Man) have similarly updated machinery at their disposal. Championship newcomer Nick Dunn (Leeds) will race a 2.8 Beetle while the fourth 3.2 RSI will be handled by 2006 championship runner-up Martyn Culley (Basingstoke).
Martyn’s 57-year-old father, Barrie (Thatcham), is to take over at the wheel of Culley Junior’s previous mount, a Vento VR6, to retain his status as the championship’s elder statesman.
Maidenhead’s Joe Fulbrook returns with the Warranty Direct Racing turbocharged Bora which he drove to twin wins at Oulton at the start of 2007 and on to championship third. He is hopeful that this could be his season: ‘The Bora is a good chassis, the engine is great and we have made big changes over the winter to the suspension so I believe that we can be competitive right from the word go.’
Paul Taylor is another likely frontrunner. The Hertfordshire driver won the championship outright in 2006 in his R32 Golf and has taken eight race wins in the last two seasons.
The class for turbodiesels looks set to be the most keenly fought in several seasons. A four-wheel-drive Golf TDI – a championship first – will be raced by Essex driver Chris Adams, while 21-year-old James Walker (Normanton-on-Trent), son of former truck racing champion and Volkswagen Racing Cup event winner Richard, will pilot a Mk V Golf TDI. Cheshire’s Andrew Smith will be joining in later with his new TDI-powered Beetle, and as ever there will be a brace of turbodiesel Caddy vans in action. The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles-backed Caddy will be raced at Oulton by evo journalist Roger Green, with Surrey’s Giles Lock at the wheel of his Caddy Classic.
The diversity of the Volkswagen Racing Cup grid does not end there: at Oulton there will be a Voodoo Motorsport Vento VR6 for Ireland’s Sam Maher-Loughnan, a 1.8 turbo Polo GTI for SEAT boss Peter Wyhinny, a VR6 Golf for Tony Harberman (Coalville) and a 2-litre Polo for Silverstone instructor Doug Ross (Northampton), as well as a couple of surprise last-minute entries.
‘It is a grid we are proud of,’ said Melissa Wright of Volkswagen Racing UK. ‘We expect 25 or 26 cars at Oulton Park, with more joining in from the next round, and the field is one of real quality, with more new cars than we’ve ever seen before and some very talented drivers. It will be fascinating to see who emerges on top.’
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook will once again be the sole regular saloon-race supporting event on the British Formula 3/British GT racing bill. The entertaining Volkswagens will enjoy twin races at all of the joint F3 and GT events taking place in 2008.
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook 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.
- Volkswagen Racing Cup News