new environmentally-friendly race series…

well, not really. i don’t think it’s possible to have environmentally-friendly motorsport. but this comes as close as possible, i think.

for 2008, Volkswagen is sponsoring a new SCCA-sanctioned race series: the Jetta TDI Cup.

that’s right. TDI. as in diesel.

from the SCCA article:

“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.”

intended for novice drivers ages 16 to 24, this seems to be a neat way to get younger drivers into racing. buy-in is a relatively modest $35k, which covers use of a factory prepared and maintained car for the season, instruction by racing professionals (including Ryan Arciero and Mark Miller), and driving gear (fire suit, shoes, gloves and most required safety gear).

individual race payouts run $1500 for first place, with the series points champ winning $100k. the champ will get an additional $150k bonus if selected for a pro berth within six months of the series finish. not bad at all for an entry-level racing series.

the cars ought to be pretty fun to drive as well, with 170 horsepower and nearly 300 pound feet of torque from a 2.0 liter turbo four. being a fan of diesel cars, the fat and flat torque curve ought to make these pretty fast, especially with the power being transmitted through VW’s six-speed DSG gearbox (8 millisecond upshifts!). almost wish i could get a seat…

hooray, diesel!

quote of the day:

“Aerodynamics is for those who cannot manufacture good engines.” – Enzo Ferrari

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