Rafael Navarro IV Ready for Jetta TDI Debut This Weekend Aspiring Professional Race Car Driver Rafael Navarro IV Only Southern Californian in 2010 Jetta TDIÂ® Cup Championship 16-Year-Old Temecula Resident One of Just Two Golden State ...
Rafael Navarro IV Ready for Jetta TDI Debut This Weekend
Aspiring Professional Race Car Driver Rafael Navarro IV Only Southern Californian in 2010 Jetta TDI® Cup Championship
16-Year-Old Temecula Resident One of Just Two Golden State Drivers Selected for 2010 Series
TEMECULA, Ca (April 20, 2010) - Rafael Navarro IV, an aspiring 16-year-old race car driver from Temecula, is the only Southern California-based driver in a select group of 25 young talents chosen to compete in the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Jetta TDI® Cup series. The Volkswagen-spec road racing series, now entering its third season, launches its 10-race schedule this weekend, April 23 - 25, at Virginia International Raceway.
Navarro joins San Francisco Bay-area driver Andrew Novich, of Novato, as the only Californians in the competitive 2010 lineup that includes drivers from 14 others states, Mexico, Canada and Jamaica. This season will mark Navarro's first full year of paved circuit road racing but, like so many Southern California drivers before him, the second generation Mexican-American began competing in a variety of off-road racing categories.
"I am honored to be chosen to compete in the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup and can't wait to get the season started," Navarro said. "There is a little added pressure knowing that I am the only Southern Californian in the field, as so many great race car drivers have come from this area, including many who started in off-road racing. Off-road racing prepares you for any kind of motorsports and I look forward to proving that this year in the Jetta TDI Cup."
Reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, of El Cajon, and Robby Gordon, of Orange, are two Southern California drivers who began their careers in off-road racing. Southern California racing legend Parnelli Jones, the 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner, also raced and won in off-road competition.
"My first real racing experience was when I started karting at the age of 4, so I feel like I've been around racing all of my life," said Navarro, who is also known at home and at the track as "R4." "I also have experience racing with VW power as I've been racing a short course off-road buggy with a 1600 VW Type 1 engine as well as a Class 12 desert buggy with a VW Type 1 1800CC engine. It is very cool that I can take my next career step and still stick with VW."
Volkswagen screened driver candidates from throughout North America in three days of in-depth testing and analysis earlier this year in Las Vegas. All drivers were evaluated through a variety of on-and-off-track scenarios to establish skill level, potential, and overall ability. Following a collection of driving activities, physical fitness tests, media training, and an in-depth sponsorship workshop, the 25 finalists were chosen. Navarro is one of 16 new drivers this year with nine others returning in 2010 after competing in previous TDI Cup seasons.