Great news here for the New Beetle fans out there. I swear, if I played the lottery and won, I would build one of these and race here in the states! period!
Martyn Culley, one of the quickest and most spectacular drivers in the Volkswagen Racing Cup in recent seasons, is set to return to the championship in 2008 at the wheel of a home-prepared 3.2-litre Beetle.
The 28-year-old, who was championship runner-up in 2006 at the wheel of his then 12-year-old Vento VR6, has sourced a Beetle chassis new to the Hankook-backed UK series and is currently shoehorning an ex-Golf R32 power unit into it, with the help of his father, Barrie. Culley Snr is to take over at the wheel of his son’s Vento.
‘We are getting a lot of help from Storm Developments,’ said Martyn. ‘Storm are doing all the tuning work and my father and I are putting the Beetle together. I’m very excited about the project – it’s going to be a front-running car, obviously much newer and more competitive than my old one.’
The Culleys plan to have the Beetle on track by the end of January, allowing them a two-month window for testing and development ahead of the opening rounds of the championship at Easter.
Martyn is taking advantage of a new championship rule which allows the Beetle to adopt the larger engine. Beetles with 2.8-litre power units won the championship in 2001 (Mike Neuhoff) and 2004/’05 (Philip House).
Another Beetle driver adopting the 3.2 is Darren Blumson, who this week was the first driver to register officially for the 2008 Volkswagen Racing Cup. ‘We are well ahead with plans for next season,’ said Darren. ‘We tried the car in this specification at Rockingham at the end of the ’07 season and found it to have between 25 and 30 per cent more torque, as well as much improved handling in twistier corners. We are very confident for the coming year.’
The 2006 champion, Paul Taylor, is another to have re-signed for next season. He will return in the four-wheel-drive Golf R32 in which he scored eight race wins in ’06 and ’07. Beetle racer Steve Chaplin will also be back on the grid in his ‘Herbie’-liveried machine.
‘We know of a number of new cars and drivers making plans to join the championship,’ said series manager Melissa Wright of Volkswagen Racing UK, ‘and it is great that so many old faces are planning to return also. I think 2008 is set to be our most competitive season yet.’
The Volkswagen Racing Cup expands to 14 rounds next season and will once again be the chief saloon-race support to the British Formula 3 and British GT Championships.
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook is further supported by Augustus Martin, Castrol, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Europcar, Milltek Sport, Mondial Assistance, KW Automotive, Superchips, TNT Logistics, Turbo Dynamics, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services UK.”
– Volkswagen Racing Cup