Two Engen Volkswagen Cup stars in Scirocco R-Cup line-up
TWO South African racers are set to compete in the Scirocco R-Cup series in Germany this year. Kelvin van der Linde and Jordan Pepper will be amongst the starters when round one kicks off the season at Hockenheim on May 4 and 5.
Both Van der Linde and Pepper contested the Engen Volkswagen Cup series in South Africa last year, with Van der Linde winning the championship and Pepper finishing the season as the Rookie of the Year.
They have now moved their attentions in motorsport overseas for 2013 and leave this week for their first race meeting – a date that coincides with their local counterparts competing in the fourth round of the national championship at Zwartkops Raceway.
At a practise session held in mid-April, both Van der Linde and Pepper produced some very good results. In the five sessions that took place, Van der Linde was fastest in three of them while Pepper was in the top five in every session – fourth for two sessions, second for two sessions and fastest in session three.
For each of the racers, preparation for the test session included making use of computer games to learn the circuit. While both found it helpful, the assistance it provided was limited.
“It gives you some idea of what part of the circuit is fast and which is slow,” says Pepper. “In the real world it is not the same, but you have the outline of the track so you know where you are going.”
Making the change to left-hand drive also proved less of a challenge than the two expected.
“Using a DSG gearbox means things are not too bad on the gear changes,” says Van der Linde. “Having moved over to the left by about a half-metre, it does take a lap or two to spot the apexes, but after that you get used to it.”
The Scirocco R-Cup series is similar to the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship in that it is a single-make series. While the Volkswagen Polo Vivo is used locally, the Volkswagen Scirocco R is employed as the racing car in Germany. This series is also unique in the world of motorsport as the Volkswagen Scirocco race car is the most eco-friendly in the world.
It makes use of a 2.0 litre TSI engine which is powered by natural gas (CNG). This results in an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by comparison to an engine powered by conventional fuels. The Scirocco R produces 170 kW and 275 Nm of torque in CNG guise and is used in all nine rounds of the Scirocco R-Cup championship.
“The car is nice to drive,” says Van der Linde. “It handles better than the Polos in Engen Volkswagen Cup, but you can’t just jump in and race. With the additional power and the level at which you’re driving, you’re always busy in the car.”
The Hockenheim circuit, located 100 km south of Frankfurt, is 4.57 km long, has 17 corners and has hosted more than 30 Formula One Grands Prix since 1970. The Scirocco R-Cup formula will, as in previous seasons, be one of the support formulas to the DTM (Deutsche Tourengwagen Masters – German Touring Car Masters).