Rafael Navarro IV Set for Second Career Start in 2010 VW Jetta TDIÂ® Cup Series This Weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park Sole Southern Californian in TDI Cup Running Just Second Road Course Race at 16 Years Old MILLVILLE, N.J. (May 7,...
Rafael Navarro IV Set for Second Career Start in 2010 VW Jetta TDI® Cup Series This Weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park
Sole Southern Californian in TDI Cup Running Just Second Road Course Race at 16 Years Old
MILLVILLE, N.J. (May 7, 2010) - Rookie sports car road racing driver Rafael Navarro IV, an aspiring 16-year-old professional from Temecula, Calif., will make just his second career start in the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Jetta TDI® Cup series this weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) in Southern New Jersey.
The Volkswagen-spec road racing series, now entering its third season, launched its 10-race schedule two weeks ago with a doubleheader at Virginia International Raceway and Round 3 of the championship will be held this Sunday, May 9, with a 30-minute sprint on NJMP's challenging Thunderbolt Raceway circuit at 12:40 p.m. ET.
Known as "R4," Navarro improved five positions in each of the opening races at VIR and looks forward to even better results this weekend in New Jersey after more time behind the wheel of the quick VW Jetta TDI race cars. His first TDI races were also the first paved road course races of R4's career.
"The thing that I can probably improve on is my confidence in the car," Navarro said after the opening weekend at VIR. "I am not 100% sure as to where we can be going full flat-out. I just don't feel that yet and I am not sure you do after just one race weekend. It's coming, and along with it, I will figure out things like braking points and managing the ABS and everything else that comes with racing this car at this level."
Navarro's usual routine between races includes staying fit by playing with his high school and club soccer teams back home in Southern California and preparing for the next race on an iRacing simulator.
"Unfortunately, NJMP is a newer track and isn't on iRacing yet," Navarro said. "Otherwise, I'd be hitting up the racing simulator as usual. Instead I have to resort to videos on YouTube, which will be just enough to prepare myself for the race. My goals this weekend are to further my comfort level with the front-wheel-drive Jetta TDI Cup car and improve my finishing position."
The intense level of competition in the Jetta TDI Cup means even a top-10 finish for R4 in New Jersey will be quite an accomplishment.
"The Jetta TDI Cup is really tough," Navarro said after the VIR opener. "Volkswagen brought in the top-25 drivers around in our age group from 16 to 26 and the returnees from last year definitely have a leg up on the competition in knowing the tracks and what not. I feel very fortunate to be here and to be selected by Volkswagen. This is one of the top young driver development programs in the nation."
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, such as Jimmie Johnson and Robby Gordon, the second generation Mexican-American began competing in a variety of off-road racing categories.