24H Nurburgring: Volkswagen Scirocco preview

24-hour race Nurburgring Endurance test: The Volkswagen Scirocco in the "Green Hell" Wolfsburg (13 May 2009). A genuine sportscar, two engine alternatives, a 24-hour endurance test: The Volkswagen Scirocco will tackle the 24-hour race on the...

24-hour race Nurburgring

Endurance test: The Volkswagen Scirocco in the "Green Hell"

Wolfsburg (13 May 2009). A genuine sportscar, two engine alternatives, a 24-hour endurance test: The Volkswagen Scirocco will tackle the 24-hour race on the legendary Nurburgring-Nordschleife on 23 and 24 May. Two Scirocco GT24-CNG cars with natural gas engines as well as three Scirocco GT24 vehicles using conventional petrol fuel will take on strong rivals in the "Green Hell". The aim is to add another victory to those clinched in the highly competitive class for two-litre turbo engines in 2007 and 2008 and, in addition, to be successful in the class for alternative powertrains, thanks to EcoFuel natural gas technology.

"The 24-hour race is a very special challenge. The Nurburgring-Nordschleife is more difficult than any other track, the field is huge and the race a real marathon," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "Volkswagen sets standards on the road with its EcoFuel natural gas models and we want to show that alternative powertrains like CNG technology can be successful in motorsport as well. In addition, we want to achieve the hat-trick with our petrol-powered Scirocco GT24 in the class of vehicles with two-litre turbo engines."

Volkswagen EcoFuel: additional powertrain concept for the proven Scirocco GT24

The five Scirocco GT24 cars are powered by proven as well as by innovative technology. The two-litre turbo engine used in the three petrol-powered Scirocco cars is almost identical to last year's version, with one exception. An air restrictor with a smaller cross-section prescribed by the regulations reduces the engine's power output from 325 to 315 hp. The EcoFuel engine in the two natural gas-powered Scirocco vehicles generates 282 hp from the gaseous CNG (compressed natural gas) fuel. The engineers primarily focused on the mixture formation of the engine fitted with a turbocharger as well as the balance between maximum exhaust gas temperature and full usage of the turbocharger's potential in order to match the "sister car's" good driveability, high performance and high reliability.

The further development of the chassis and bodywork was focused on detailed aspects as well. Improved weight distribution, an optimised gearbox and aerodynamic fine-tuning characterise the sport coupe for the 2009 endurance classic. "The objective was to reduce overall weight, lower the centre of gravity and, as a result, improve the car's handling," says Andreas Lautner, Technical Director at Volkswagen Motorsport. "We achieved this goal and are now at the minimum weight of 1,100 kilograms." In addition, tests on the Nordschleife as well as three races in the Endurance Championship Nurburgring served to systematically prepare for the 24-hour marathon.

Top-calibre driving skills x 20: the Volkswagen drivers' line-up for the Nordschleife

Just as Volkswagen opted for a combination of proven and new technology, the manufacturer decided on a mix of veterans and youngsters when selecting the drivers.

Scirocco GT24-CNG #114 - journalists' car with executive board support: Alongside Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (D), Volkswagen Executive Board Member for Technical Development, journalists Bernd Ostmann (D), editor-in-chief of auto motor und sport, Automobil Revue editor Peter Wyss (CH) and John Barker (GB), author of Evo magazine, compete in one of two Scirocco GT24-CNG cars sporting a red-orange livery. "The 24-hour race on the Nurburgring is one of the toughest tests a car can be subjected to. By fielding the Scirocco GT24-CNG we want to show that an eco-friendly powertrain like EcoFuel technology and top-class driving dynamics are by no means mutually exclusive and that natural gas is a viable alternative to conventional fuels," says Dr Ulrich Hackenberg.

Scirocco GT24-CNG #115 - touring car aces with lady power: Vanina Ickx (B), who looks back on two years of DTM experience, Peter Terting (D), who competed in the two top touring car categories as well as the two-time 24-hour overall winner Klaus Niedzwiedz (D) bring combined DTM and World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) power to the cockpit of the second Scirocco GT24-CNG car. Thomas Klenke (D), who contested the 2005 WTCC, completes the line-up. "The runs of the CNG-powered Scirocco during the preparation races on the Nordschleife already revealed the potential of the project," says Peter Terting. "The car proved to be quick and reliable. I'm eager to see how the race will be."

Scirocco GT24 #116 - Formula 3-youngsters with touring car mentor: Altfrid Heger (D), a driver who successfully contested the DTM as well as several 24-hour races, jointly runs with three young guns from Volkswagen's Formula 3 school: Carlo van Dam (NL), who competes in the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series, as well as Congfu Cheng (CN) and Franck Mailleux (F), who competed with Volkswagen in 2008, complete this team. "It's a special honour for us Formula 3 drivers to have the chance to prove our skills in a pure-blooded touring car like the Scirocco as well," says Franck Mailleux. "I look forward to the Nordschleife. It's a legend."

Scirocco GT24 #117 - "Dakar" aces meet sportscar pros: Rally ace Carlos Sainz (E), all-round driver Dieter Depping (D) and sportscar pro Wolfgang Kaufmann (D) share the cockpit of one of the three blue Scirocco GT24 cars. "With a turnout of 200,000 spectators, the atmosphere at the 24-hour race is highly special and, like at the 'Dakar', gives us racers an extra dose of motivation," says the two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz. "Camp fires and barbecues are set up along the entire Nordschleife, and that's something very special, particularly at night." "Dakar" winner Giniel de Villiers, unfortunately, had to refrain from competing in the 24-hour race. The South African is recovering from recent surgery but will soon take the wheel again for Volkswagen.

Scirocco GT24 #118 - touring car stars of tomorrow: Volkswagen Junior Jimmy Johansson (S) and Florian Gruber (D) - two of last year's winners in the SP3T class, will compete together with two other touring car youngsters: Nicki Thiim (DK), 2008 Champion of the SEAT Leon Supercopa, and Martin Karlhofer (A) complete the foursome running in a petrol-powered Scirocco GT24. "Of course, like in 2007 and 2008, we're shooting for a class win again and perhaps for setting a small highlight in the overall classification as well," says Jimmy Johansson. "But this will be anything but easy, because the number of more powerful cars in the field has increased immensely."

-credit: vw

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Series Endurance
Drivers Vanina Ickx , Carlos Sainz , Wolfgang Kaufmann , Dieter Depping , Giniel de Villiers , Peter Terting , Jimmy Johansson , Thomas Klenke , Carlo van Dam , Altfrid Heger , Congfu Cheng , Kris Nissen , Franck Mailleux , Florian Gruber , Ulrich Hackenberg , Klaus Niedzwiedz , Peter Wyss , Martin Karlhofer , Bernd Ostmann , Nicki Thiim , John Barker
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport