It’s become a bit of a tradition at our mega test to have a proper racing machine present – courtesy of VW Motorsport – just to keep all the high-end machines on their toes.
This year, we had double trouble in the form of their Ameo Cup contender, as well as the Vento that’s been developed to take part in the Indian Touring Class (ITC) of the National Racing Championship.
Both cars produce just over 200 horsepower, courtesy of their 1.8-litre direct-injection, turbo-petrol (TSI) powerplants, but the manner in which they deliver that power is very different. The Ameo has a six speed sequential gearbox that’s controlled via paddles behind the steering wheel and has a very flat torque curve, making it quite easy to drive, while the ITC contender has a more traditional torque curve (which is to say you have to rev the nuts off it) and you have to manhandle a long gear lever to switch cogs in the sequential racing gearbox. Both cars can be quite physical to drive, but the Vento is more so. However, thanks to the longer wheelbase, the Vento is more stable on the track. And that gives it the slightest advantage around the short loop of the BIC, which means that it’s quicker than the Ameo Cup car by a hair’s breadth – just two tenths of a second! Having just raced in the Ameo Cup, I had more experience in that car, so I’m sure that the Vento could have gone around just that little bit faster still.
Nevertheless, their respective lap times just go to show what a stripped out, focussed race car can achieve when compared with even high-end sports and super cars that are in a totally different league ordinarily. After all, the lap times of these two racers are comparable to the Audi RS5, which is stupendously fast – and also one of our ‘Best of 2018’ winners!