Along the sidelines of the Ameo Cup 2018, Volkswagen Motorsport India kick started a new innings to change the touring car game in India.
Volkswagen Ameo Cup is back in action as the first round of 2018 MRF Racing officially kicked off in Coimbatore in June. The season opener of the Ameo Cup 2018 witnessed 20 drivers – 13 new and 7 from previous editions of the series – compete against each other in the first race of what’s going to be a ten-race season over the next three months. What’s more interesting this year is that apart from the usual one-make Ameo Cup series, Volkswagen India’s motorsports division has also decided to take a crack at changing the touring car racing scene in India. More on that later.
The first race weekend of the Ameo Cup 2018 season had two races. And both races were won by Dhruv Mohite. It wasn’t an easy affair, since there were one too many incidents during both races. Add to that the fact that the entire grid’s lap times were separated by only 4-5 seconds in qualifying and practice sessions, both races were very closely fought but, at the very same time, it was clean racing all the way.
Now, let’s talk about the juicier bit from the race weekend – the new TC4-A category. Basically, it’s a new class that’s based on the existing Indian Touring Car (ITC) regulations. It’s restricted to turbocharged race cars of up to 2,000 cc. As per the new rules, the minimum weight of a race car should be 1,150kg and there should be a turbo inlet restrictor of 30mm. Volkswagen’s entry in the TC4-A is a Vento race car, which is powered by a 1.8-litre TSI engine mated to a 3MO sequential gearbox with a manual gearshift lever. The car develops around 200bhp – identical to the Ameo Cup – but it has sharper and more aggressive driving dynamics. The longer wheelbase also gives it more stability. Around Kari racetrack it was nearly a second quicker than the privateers’ Maruti Esteems and Honda City race cars. Which is kind of understood, since it’s backed by the might of Volkswagen. However, the real challenge for now is to encourage old-time racers and tuners to move on to a modern machinery like the Vento TC4-A race car. And at the moment, that doesn’t seem to be happening. Maybe, a few races down the line, we’ll see people warming up to Volkswagen Motorsport India’s ‘customer sport programme’.