Volkswagen’s newest track challenger, the Scirocco GT, is to make its British racing debut on Easter Monday (13 Apr), and hopes are high that the sleek coupe will be a rapid addition to the healthy grid of the Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook.
Two RacingLine-built Sciroccos will be in action at Oulton Park for rounds one and two of the 12-race series: a BSS-backed example running with the SlideSports team for Mike Kurton and the other in the hands of Addison Lee Motorsport’s Liam Griffin. The two drivers are sharing technical knowledge, says Kurton: ‘We are getting together to share developments and set-up techniques because it will be of benefit to both of us.
‘We have tested the legs off the Scirocco and done a lot of work on the set-up. It’s a very stable and nice handling car, certainly a step up from the Golf GTI I drove last year. I’m making no promises for Oulton. The plan is to qualify as well as we can and to stay out of trouble, then see what unfolds.’ Kurton claimed his maiden race win late last year.
Including Kurton, seven of last season’s race winners are set to return, and there are several new drivers and an impressive diversity of models combining to give the Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook an exceptionally healthy look.
Reigning champion Joe Fulbrook heads the entry, back for a fifth straight season with the Warranty Direct Bora and hopeful of a successful title defence. Joe caught his rivals napping here in 2007, winning both Oulton races to establish an early championship lead.
The other race winners returning are 2006 champion Paul Taylor with his Golf R32, and Golf GTI pilots Steve Wood and Jamie Perry. Wood and Taylor were the Oulton Park victors last Easter.
Then there is Didge Dziurzynski, who will be giving his ‘old faithful’ Mk II Golf GTI its swansong at Oulton after testing problems delayed the arrival of his new Golf, and James Walker, who returns at the wheel of the Golf with which he claimed championship sixth, and one race victory, in 2008.
The Golf GTI is set to be the most popular car on the grid: others planning to race the Wolfsburg favourite include old hand Michael McInerney, ex-Clio racer Peter Felix, Kieran Griffin and championship newcomers and saloon-racing novices Tim Snaylam and Aaron Mason.
Another Golf GTI pilot is Surrey-based Anna Walewska, who hopes her first experience of racing a front-wheel-drive car will help her on the way to a British Touring Car Championship drive. Walewska started competing at age 11 in karts, and in 2001 became the youngest-ever female holder of a racing licence when she tackled the T-Cars saloons series at just 14.
Five Beetles are expected this season: RSIs for Darren Blumson – back from serious illness – Martyn Culley, Nick Dunn and 2008 podium regular Steve Chaplin, plus a Beetle TDI for Manchester’s Andrew Smith. Culley will however start his season in his willing stand-by, a Vento VR6.
The irrepressible Peter Wyhinny will be back with the spectator-pleasing Caddy TDI – a podium finisher here last year – and further diversity is added by the return of Doug Ross’s Polo, the Vento VR6 of Barrie Culley, Tony Harberman’s Golf VR6.
Volkswagen racing veteran Steve Walker is returning to the championship for his first full season since 2003 with his Mk IV Golf, and is bringing with him his son-in-law, Dan Crossley, to race a sister Golf.
evo magazine’s Roger Green, a podium finisher at Oulton in 2008, will be making a guest appearance in RacingLine’s Polo GTI.