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One make racing series are a good way for young drivers to get noticed and as a platform to further their racing careers. Volkswagen is renowned for organizing top class one make racing series worldwide. 2009 though marked the first time Volkswagen organized a one make racing series in China with the Scirocco Cup China. The world's most populated nation is after all a critical market for the brand - it sells more than a million cars in China alone.
Scirocco Cup China got off to a roaring start last year and the series has been further expanded in its second year in 2010 with more races in China as well as its first fly away race recently held at Sepang to support the Super GT race weekend.
Watching the race at Sepang showed that Scirocco Cup China racing is a close fought one, drivers racing side by side sometimes three abreast into a corner, door handle to door handle, sometimes even rubbing the paintwork off each other's cars. So what actually makes the racing so close in the Scirocco Cup?
With the cars all similar and set up the same, it's all down to driver skill it seems. All the driver has to do is turn up at the track and drive - he need not worry about any form of set up so experienced drivers do not have a big advantage here. As the series' only Singapore driver, veteran Ringo Chong puts it, "all you need to do is adjust your seat position and mirrors and just drive." A good step up from karting if you're into touring car racing reckons Ringo.
I had a go at the purposeful looking Scirocco Cup car myself to see what it's like to manhandle one of these race machine on the track. The race car is up to 130kg lighter (1190kg) than the road car thanks to a stripped out interior and lighter body panels. A R line body kit is fitted on each car - the front bumper is similar to the Scirocco R road car's while the substantially sized roof mounted spoiler shouts boy racer. Inside, a welded-in roll cage and fire extinguisher are mandatory. The interior is stripped out - no carpets, no rear and front passenger seats and a data logger is installed.
In the engine department, the Cup car uses a stock 2-litre TSI motor from the Scirocco Sport road car you can buy from the showroom. The gearbox is the same DSG twin clutch gearbox as the road car but tweaked software speeds up gearchanges a tad. Also same as the road car's are the gear lever and miniscule steering mounted paddles.
Rather than using bespoke racing slick tyres, the race car uses semi-slick road legal tyres - 245 wide Bridgestone Potenza RE55S rubber you can buy from the local tyre shop. The tyres are fitted on lightweight alloy wheels in gun metal by Rial that look really fantastic. The upgraded and lowered suspension systems are supplied by ZF Sachs. The set up is similar for all cars and no individual driver adjustments are allowed. Ther's no point going faster when your brakes are not up to the job so the Cup car has bespoke brakes - the front anchors with four pot calipers are sourced from the Audi R8. ABS is standard but the road car's ESP has been deleted.