Volkswagen Racing Cup to add extra rounds in '08
The Volkswagen Racing Cup is set to expand to 14 rounds next season for the first time in its history. The 2008 provisional calendar - announced today - features seven double-header meetings spanning the top circuits in England.
The championship will once again be the chief saloon-race support to the British Formula 3 and British GT Championships, and as in previous seasons will boast extensive Sky Sports TV coverage.
The expansion to 14 races marks the coming of age of the series, believes championship manager Melissa Wright of Volkswagen Racing UK: 'In 2001 the Volkswagen Racing Cup pioneered the concept of the "compact championship" for time-poor drivers, with 12 races spread over just six weekends. Now, after seven seasons, we think the series has grown enough to add a new competitive dimension. It's something the drivers have requested and we are pleased to offer it.'
The move is being welcomed by teams: 'Each of the Volkswagen Racing Cup weekends is a very enjoyable event,' says Dave Turner, whose team won three races in 2007, 'and an extra one during the season will be warmly received, I'm sure. It will mean more work for us but a championship always needs to change and move forwards.'
The Volkswagen Racing Cup will kick off at Oulton Park's Easter meeting alongside British GT and F3 and will feature rounds at Rockingham, Snetterton, Thruxton, Brands Hatch and Silverstone ahead of a September finale at Donington Park.
In keeping with the championship's policy of technical rule stability, Wright says there are very few changes in the pipeline for 2008. One new feature will be to allow one of the championship's mainstay models, the Beetle RSI, to adopt Volkswagen's 3.2-litre V6 engine. Beetle driver Darren Blumson successfully trialled a 3.2-equipped car at the end of the '07 season and a number of drivers are expected to follow his lead.
'Interest in the championship for 2008 is running high,' says Wright. 'We are receiving enquiries from many drivers new to Volkswagen racing, as well as from the long-time supporters. There are several new cars either in build or being sourced: it's all very encouraging.'
Volkswagen Racing UK is itself starting work on a car which will be new to the championship, further details of which will be revealed soon.
Volkswagen Racing Cup provisional calendar 2008 24 March, Oulton Park, Cheshire 26 May, Rockingham, Northants 8 June, Snetterton, Norfolk 29 June, Thruxton, Hampshire 13 July, Brands Hatch, Kent 17 August, Silverstone, Northants 21 September, Donington Park, Derbyshire