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United Kingdom FlagBiggest and Best Field of Volkswagens Assembles for VW Racing Cup Start

Biggest and Best VW Racing Cup Ever: click to enlargeWith a capacity grid of 34 cars expected at Oulton Park on Easter Monday (21 Apr) for the opening rounds, the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup looks set to deliver its most exciting season yet.

With some subtly revised technical rules as well as an influx of new driving talent and freshly built machinery, the prospects for a superb season couldn’t be better, says championship manager Matt Walker: “The VW Cup has been gaining momentum for several seasons thanks to solid promotion, careful handling of the rules and a policy of listening to the drivers and the teams and responding to meet their needs.

“That is why the championship finds itself in such a buoyant state now, and why we believe it will continue to prove successful and attract not only great driving talent but also exciting championship partners like our new title sponsor Milltek Sport.”

The revisions to the successful technical regulations are subtle yet important, centring chiefly on permitting the drivers of Mk V and Mk VI Golf GTIs to fit a bodykit to widen the front and rear wheelarches and the track to allow the fitment of 9in-wide Hankook tyres, improving traction and cornering to put the Golfs on a more even footing with the Sciroccos.

There have been adjustments also to the power/weight bandings which help equalise performance between the various models, with the top bracket permitting power outputs of up to 290bhp balanced by a minimum weight of 1428kg.

The new talent and rule changes make for unpredictability, says defending champion Aaron Mason: “There have been some interesting changes to the cars and there are lots of new drivers coming in, some with greater experience than the existing field. Some of the old crew might have an upper hand because they know the machinery, but it will be interesting and the racing will be good. The VW Cup has got better and better every year; everyone at Volkswagen Racing has put in a lot of effort and it’s really paying off now.”

A quartet of returning champions Last year’s champion Mason heads the entry list, the Doncaster driver bidding not only to retain his crown but also to increase his lead in the all-time winner list. Aaron’s five 2013 wins in his AWM Scirocco took his tally of victories to 16 – two more than Joe Fulbrook, the 2008/’09 title winner, who will be back at the wheel of his Warranty Direct Racing Golf GTI. But Mason warns that his team has been so busy building new cars for his team-mates that his Scirocco “hasn’t had a spanner on it” since the final round of 2013…

After a season on the sidelines, the 2012 champion, James Walker, returns to the track aboard a Golf thanks to his victory in the Milltek Sport ‘win a drive’ contest (see video below).

The fourth champion on the grid is Phil House, who triumphed in 2004 and 2005 and was a race winner last year on his return to the championship with a self-prepared Scirocco.

Race winners from recent seasons Stewart Lines claimed his maiden win in the Volkswagen Racing Cup in 2013, at Spa-Francorchamps, and finished third in the championship behind Mason and Fulbrook. Stewart is back with his Scirocco, now run by his own team Maximum Motorsport. Howard Fuller won on his championship debut as a teenager in 2010 at Rockingham, and repeated the feat at the same circuit two years later. Still only 21, he gets his big chance this year with a full season in a PPC GB-backed Golf prepared by Team HARD.

A host of new cars The popularity of the Scirocco – the champion’s mount for the last two seasons – has spawned a host of freshly built examples for the coming season. Josh Caygill will be stepping up to an AWM Scirocco after claiming Rookie of the Year status aboard a Golf in 2013, and there will be new sister Sciroccos under the same awning for championship returnee Tim Snaylam and for James Greenway, 23-year-old son of successful 1990s Volkswagen Vento VR6 campaigner Frank. Former Clio, Mini and Porsche pilot Chris Panayiotou has had a new Scirocco after making a competitive debut in the VW Cup with a Golf at Brands Hatch last year; he joins Lines’s new team. Over at JWB Motorsport, Paul Dehadray and Mark Clynes have traded their Golfs for Sciroccos, while SlideSports have created a new Scirocco for Pall-Ex-backed driver David Fairbrother.

The Volkswagen Racing Cup has a long tradition of bringing new drivers into motorsport, and there are several racing newcomers this season as well as some experienced track hands who are new to the championship. Adam Weaver is the man behind BTCC team backer Power Maxed, and he will be making his track debut with a Golf prepared by Team HARD, alongside that of 25-year-old Simon Rudd, who is moving to tin tops following single-seater experience. Harry Vaulkhard, who’s raced in British and World touring cars, is another Team HARD runner. Craig Mason, brother of reigning champion Aaron, won his class in a club championship last year and will make his VW Cup debut in his brother’s old Golf. Stefan Di Resta, younger brother of ex-F1 racer Paul, and multiple title-winner Lucas Orrock are stepping up from karting to tackle saloon racing; each will drive a Scirocco, the former for JWB and the latter for KPM. SlideSports has meanwhile converted a Mk VI Golf GTI for wheelchair user James Pile to make his championship debut, and Matt Hamilton, another former BTCC racer, will campaign a Golf GTI prepared by returning team THM Racing. KPM will field a Scirocco for newcomer George White.

...and plenty of familiar drivers also Championship stalwart Andrew Smith, still a Beetle loyalist, heads the list of returning drivers – he’s been in the championship since its first races in 2000. Still only 16, Sam Morgan can hardly be described as an old hand, but he brings speed and considerable experience to the KPM team. Kieran Gallagher, Graham Perkins and Tom Barley showed speed with Team HARD last year and will do so again, while David Sutton, an exciting debut year behind him, joins the SlideSports team for a season aboard a Scirocco. Another with a new team this year is Golf man Cameron Thompson, who joins Maximum Motorsport, while Robin Riley and Simon Andrews remain loyal to the Warranty Direct squad for their returns. Jack Walker-Tulley has inherited his cousin James Walker’s championship-winning Scirocco for a full-season campaign, while Simon Tomlinson is back with a rebuilt AWM Golf.

The season ahead After Easter Monday’s opening rounds the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup will take in British GT Championship-supporting events at Rockingham, Silverstone, Snetterton, Brands Hatch and Donington Park, as well as make a foray to Belgium and the Spa-Francorchamps Grand Prix circuit. Recorded highlights of the track action will be screened throughout the year across Europe on Motors TV and in the UK on Channel 4.

Current Driver Standings