Vw Takes Diesel Racing to North America

by : Anthony Fontanelle

Volkswagen AG will be testing the waters in North America by introducing a fresh racing series in 2008. The racing event will highlight better fuel mileage protection of air quality.

The first ever all-diesel powered racing series will hit the tracks in 2008 with the formation of the Jetta TDI Cup, sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pro Racing department, said Motorsport. The idea of showcasing the power and performance of its new clean diesel technology is even unique to the German automaker.

Part of VW's goal is for the young racers to develop their skills and move up the motorsport ladder. It means that the 2008 winner cannot race in the series in the future. However, if one does not win, they can run up to a maximum of three years but they have to go through the screening process and qualify for the new series held annually.

Being active in auto racing is not unique however, and with their past performances, the automaker is prepared to take on their new challenge. In Europe, Asia and Africa, VW is one of the top manufacturers with drivers who chase for the popular VW Cup.

According to the reports, the newest series will have 30 Jetta TDIs ready for the 2008 competition. All will be prepared identically for the aspiring drivers who wish to take on the challenge next year, racing clean diesel powered racing machines. The prize at the end of the season will see two of the drivers participate in Germany at the season finale for the VW Polo Cup series.

"The Jetta TDI Cup racing series will celebrate Volkswagen's diesel technology and heritage in motorsports as good, clean fun," said Stefan Jacoby, CEO, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "Not only will the young drivers gain real-life track experience in a factory-prepared race vehicle, it will allow them to develop their own mindset of today's clean diesel technology, and foster increased awareness of its advantages in this new era of environmental sensitivity."

At the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV, SCCA Pro Racing's president and CEO Robert Wildberger has this to say: "With the Jetta TDI Cup, Volkswagen has created an amazing platform to develop young drivers and expand their knowledge about clean and quiet diesel technology. We look forward to the series in hopes that it will attract more attention to the drivers and advantages of diesel power."

The prowess of cannot be overemphasized. Improving the car's power is a 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine which will power the Jetta TDI race cars. All will have ABS racing brakes, a six-speed double-clutch DSG transmission, and a fully independent racing suspension along with the required cockpit safety requirements.

So who will race in the upcoming series? Knowing that there are many young racers aged 16 to 26 who would grab the rare chance, VW will accept applications to find the 40 drivers. There will only be 30 starters but ten will be held in reserve. Qualifying will take place to know the lucky 40.

VW has the dates set for the qualifying sessions in March with the first race event set for April 26 to 27 next year. Prospective drivers will not to bother about the sponsors; the German automaker will take care of the matter.