A couple months back, VW offered us to chance to get get behind the wheel in the Jetta TDI Cup, a racing series where hotshot drivers age 16-26 race for cash in identical diesel-engined Jettas.
After it was clear the folks at VW didn't care that we're neither 16-26, or a potential future NASCAR or IndyCar driver like the rest of the racers in the series, it took about a half second to say, "what the hell!"
So this weekend we'll be playing the role of Ricky Bobby (minus the driving skills), hooning and hollering toward the checkered flag on the 3.5-mile road course at Autobahn Country Club outside of Chicago. Wish us luck.
To prep for the race, we took spin around NYC (sans firesuit) in the Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition, a version of the car available in dealers that sports a similar aero package to the racecar while boasting larger brakes and a stiffer suspension than the "normal" Jetta TDI.
Though it's not the exact car used in the circuit—series cars run slightly more powerful engines, have roll cages, use slick tires and are stripped of all nonessentials—we still managed to get some "practice" in in the Street Edition during a quick drive through NYC. By "practice," I mean we mashed the pedal, chirped the wheels, and squirted through inappropriately small gaps in traffic, thanks to the diesel engine's torquey, immediate kick.
Other drivers on Brooklyn's Belt Parkway probably didn't love our white knuckle moves, but the object in racing isn't to make friends, is it?
Next stop: the TDI Cup. Check back next week to see if we finished first or second...or 25th.
2010 Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition
Price: from $24,990
Engine: 2.0-liter 4 cylinder turbodiesel
Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 1,750-2500rpm
0-60mph: 8.8 sec
Fuel economy: 30 mpg city/41 hwy