VW Jetta: Mid-Ohio round four previw

Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup to showcase clean diesel racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Series makes its first visit to the historic Ohio circuit Race Information 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup -- Round 4 Circuit: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course...

Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup to showcase clean diesel racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Series makes its first visit to the historic Ohio circuit

Race Information

2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup -- Round 4

Circuit: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course -- Lexington, OH (Main Course -- 13 Turns, 2.25 miles)

Date/Time:
Practice/Qualifying -- Saturday, June 20 at 8 am ET / 11:10 am ET
Race -- Sunday, June 21 at 11 am ET

Race Length: 30 minutes

What sets the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup apart from other racing series?

* The Jetta TDI Cup is the only clean diesel racing series in the United States, and Volkswagen is the only auto manufacturer participating in motorsports full time with diesel powered cars.

* The TDI (turbo direct injection) engine technology improves fuel economy over gasoline engines and reduces sooty emissions by 95 percent, even under demanding race conditions. Each car will consume approximately two tanks of fuel during races this season.

* The Jetta TDI Cup features a product that consumers can buy at their local dealerships.

* The racecars are maintained by Volkswagen of America, which creates a level playing field for all drivers.

News & Notes:

Mid-Ohio Preview

On June 21, the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup will make its first visit to the historic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The series' 25 drivers will be taking to the 13-turn, 2.25-mile road course in their identically-prepared clean diesel Jetta TDI racecars to demonstrate to the motorsports world what green racing is all about.

With three races of the 10-event season in the books, the series has shown to be very competitive with each race featuring a different winner and pole sitter. Eight different drivers have also scored top-five finishes. As a result, the championship standings are incredibly tight. Only 23 points separate the top five drivers.

Calgary, Alberta's Jake Thompson has been the shining star of the season so far despite the fact that 2009 marks his first season racing cars. In 2004, Thompson won the Canadian National Karting Championship, and despite his lack of experience in larger cars, he claimed victory at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in the season's second event. He has also finished on the podium in two of three races and had the fastest lap in two of the three contests. As a result, the Jetta TDI Cup rookie carries an 11-point Championship lead into the Mid-Ohio race weekend.

"Obviously, there was a big learning curve for me making the switch to cars, but the guidance that I've received from our series instructors has been invaluable," Thompson said. "I was really excited to get my first win on only our second event, but the Championship is my ultimate goal this season. Wins are great, but I need to make sure that I show consistency during the season in order to be at the hunt at the end."

While series rookies won the first two races of the season, Melrose Park, Illinois' Timmy Megenbier took the checkered flag at the series last race at Utah's Miller Motorsports Park, marking the first win by a returning driver. This performance moved him into second place in the Championship standings. Like Thompson, Megenbier has run particularly well this season. Despite a late-race incident during the second event at VIR, Megenbier leads the series in laps led and is the only driver to lead laps in more than one race.

"Last year had a lot of ups and downs. I ran competitively in most of the races, but I just couldn't seem to avoid trouble on several occasions," Megenbier said. "So, this year, my focus has been consistency and keeping all four tires on the track. This strategy has paid off so far, and I think that my win in Utah puts me in a good position to make a run at the Championship."

Edgewater, Maryland's AJ Nealey heads into the Mid-Ohio race as one of the series' most experienced drivers at the track, having competed there in several SCCA and NASA events. In 2008, the Jetta TDI Cup rookie scored two wins in NASA Performance Touring class events.

"Mid-Ohio is a very challenging circuit. I have to admit that during my first trip to the track, I was a bit lost. I tried to prepare using in-car video footage I found online, but nothing can prepare you for the elevation changes, blind turns and challenging corners," said Nealey. "We have limited track time during our Jetta TDI Cup race weekends, so hopefully my past experience at Mid-Ohio will give me an edge like I experienced at VIR. I was able to parlay my knowledge of the track there into a podium finish in our first race of the season, despite driving a totally new car."

With three races complete, each of the drivers has traveled 130.85 miles and are all still on their first tank of Syndiesel0x00ae B5 biodiesel. Participants will run all 10 races during the season on just two tanks of fuel.

Richert turns his Jetta TDI Cup racecar into a high-speed Father's Day card

Race day at Mid-Ohio is Father's Day, and Jetta TDI Cup driver David Richert has found a solution to the dilemma of what to get Dad for this special day. Richert is providing race fans an opportunity to purchase a heart-shaped decal carrying a personalized Father's Day greeting for $50. Each of these decals will then be placed on Richert's racecar for Jetta TDI Cup race on June 21.

Not only does this effort allow for a creative way to express appreciation to fathers, it also supports a good cause. The Niverville, Manitoba native will use all funds raised selling decals to purchase toys and gifts for children at the Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Richert plans to personally deliver these gifts to the hospital on Friday, June 19, just before the race weekend.

"Children are always scrambling to come up with a way to say 'I love you' to their fathers," Richert said. "Golf clubs and new ties are nice, but a racecar greeting card provides a break from the norm. The initial response to this campaign has been fantastic, and it's my goal to be able to provide as many gifts as possible to the kids at the hospital in order to make them momentarily forget about their struggles."

For more information on Richert's effort, visit www.richertracing.com or e-mail David at info@richertracing.com.

2008 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Champion to compete in Koni Challenge race at Mid-Ohio

During the race weekend at Mid-Ohio, the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Champion, Josh Hurley will be competing in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge race. After winning the series title last season, Hurley signed with APR Motorsport to compete in the series' Street Tuner class, driving the team's Volkswagen GTI. So far this season, Hurley and his teammate, Ian Baas have combined to claim two podium finishes and are currently eighth in the Championship standings.

Last year's second-place finisher, Liam Kenney also has advanced his career and is competing in the Formula ADAC Masters powered by Volkswagen series in Europe. Kenney also has found success in his new series, claiming two pole positions and finishing in the top 10 all but two of the series' eight races. He is currently seventh in the Championship standings.

"One of the primary goals of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is to advance the careers of young drivers," said Clark Campbell, Motorsport Manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "Both Josh and Liam have been able to benefit from the experience gained last season and parlay their success into more advanced series. This is our first chance to share a racetrack with Josh this season, and I look forward to watching the team make another great run in their Volkswagen GTI."

Yes, racing can be green!

In the past, racing and environmentally friendly cars haven't gone hand in hand. However, Volkswagen changed the game in 2008 with the introduction of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, featuring the mostly-stock clean diesel Jetta TDI. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Jetta TDI at an economical 30 mpg City and 41 mpg Highway. Volkswagen went a step further to evaluate the real world fuel economy of the Jetta TDI. Leading third-party certifier, AMCI, tested the Jetta TDI and found it performed 24 percent better in real world conditions, achieving 38 mpg in the City and 44 mpg on the Highway.

The Jetta TDI's fuel efficiency combined with its environmentally friendly emissions rating have earned the model the Smart Way designation from the EPA. The EPA created the Smart Way program to help consumers identify the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicles available. In addition, the 2009 Jetta TDI clean diesel was recently named the 2009 "Green Car of the Year0x00ae" by Green Car Journal. What makes these designations especially remarkable is that the Jetta TDI is also a racecar.

Volkswagen launches new clean diesel blog -- TDI Truth & Dare

Volkswagen recently launched its first unedited consumer blog forum called TDI Truth & Dare -- www.tditruthanddare.com. The blog seeks to differentiate "diesel" from "clean diesel" and encourage active participation through two simple challenges. First, visitors learn the truth about clean diesel technology by understanding the facts. Second, the forum dares visitors to get involved in the alternative fuel discussion by participating in online events such as the "Tank Wars" fuel-efficient driving challenge and by using applications like "Diesel Finder" and "Savings Calculator." Additionally, the blog posts relevant facts and discussions from Volkswagen as well as third party sources and consumers to keep visitors up to date on the latest diesel conversation. Jetta TDI Cup information is also featured on the site.

"Volkswagen believes that clean diesel offers drivers a high-mileage, fuel efficient vehicle without compromising on great performance," said Tim Ellis, Vice President of Marketing, Volkswagen of America. "TDI Truth & Dare engages consumers in conversation while it educates them about the clean diesel facts and how well our TDI family compares against competitive alternative fuel offerings."

Drivers with past experience at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Four Jetta TDI Cup drivers have competed at Mid-Ohio in the past:

* Devin Cates (Broad Run, VA) -- Cates competed in NASA Camaro Mustang Challenge and Spec Miata races at the track in 2006 and 2008.

* Ryan Ellis (Ashburn, VA) -- Ellis has raced in various NASA Spec Miata and Legends events at the track in recent years. In 2006, he placed second in the Legends National Championships and won four other Legends races. In 2008, Ellis won two Teen Mazda Challenge races in a Spec Miata at Mid-Ohio.

* AJ Nealey (Edgewater, MD) -- Nealey competed in various NASA and SCCA events in 2007 and 2008, claiming two wins in NASA PTD races last year.

* Donny Warren (Winchester, VA) -- Warren has been racing at Mid-Ohio for the past 10 years in various karting events. He won the WKA Grand National Championship at the track the past two years.

Volkswagen creates 2010 series competitor qualifying programs

The prospect of becoming a professional racecar driver is a dream of many of North America's youth. However, the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is helping to turn this dream into reality with a karting qualifier competition and an online racing season. Participants in both programs will compete for a fully funded ride for the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup season.

The karting qualifier competition will begin in July with six standalone karting events to be held at Boston's F1 Outdoor karting facility. The top ten finishers from each event will be selected to move on and compete in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Final Driver Selection Event in February 2010, which will determine the final 25-driver lineup for the 2010 season. The top-rated driver at the Final Driver Selection Event who competed in the karting qualifiers will be awarded their entire $45,000 season entry fee. Information on the karting qualifier events is available at www.volkswagenjettacup.com.

Volkswagen also recently announced the introduction of a forthcoming online racing season in conjunction with iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations. In September, the Jetta TDI Cup series car will join the list of racecars offered on iRacing.com, and iRacing will launch an online version of the series. Like with the karting events, iRacing.com Jetta TDI Cup series participants will be battling to earn their way into the 2010 driver selection event and compete for the chance to receive a fully funded ride in the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Jetta TDI Cup series driving the iRacing.com car.

-credit: www.vwmotorsportusa.com

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Ian Baas , Liam Kenney , Josh Hurley , Ryan Ellis , Devin Cates , Jake Thompson