Reading, Writing and Racing: Jetta TDI Cup cars hit the track at the New Jersey Motorsports Park Racing School

Fans of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup were sad to see the first clean diesel racing series in the U.S. draw to a close in 2010, but now they have reason to rejoice. Thanks to Ryan Arciero of New Jersey Motorsports Park Racing School, they can now drive the same racecars used in the Jetta TDI Cup.

Ryan co-owns Arciero-Miller Racing, has a successful career both independently and with Volkswagen as a track and off-road racer and is an instructor at the NJMP Racing School. Ryan is also the man who can you put you behind the wheel of TDI Cup racecar.

The NJMP Racing School is one of the East Coast’s premier racing facilities and was one of the stops for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. When the Cup ended in 2010, Ryan asked if VW had any plans for the remaining fleet of last-generation Jetta racecars. When he unveiled his plan to utilize the cars for a racing school, Volkswagen was happy to oblige. “What I really wanted to do was to give everybody the same opportunities that the TDI Cup gave to up-and-coming drivers. I wanted to give everyone a chance to get behind the wheel of these amazing vehicles and be able to get their start in racing, learn track etiquette and be able to improve themselves on and off the track,” he explains.

The school’s first event, which took place August 17th, 2011, put 22 students in the driver’s seats of Jetta TDI Cup racecars for two hours of quality time on the track after some classroom instructions from Ryan and co-instructors Arie Ouimet and Jan Heylen. Ryan says, “I love being able to share my experiences and help these drivers avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made.” To that end, the school goes over racing basics in the classroom and then takes students on a “track walk” to point out the things discussed in class.

With the exception of the Pirelli racing slick tires, racetrack-tuned suspension and safety features like six-point harnesses and FIA-approved roll cages, the Jetta models used by the school are mostly stock. They’re all powered by 2.0L fuel-rail diesel motors boasting 170 horsepower and 258 feet pounds of torque, and they’ve all been made much lighter by removing most of the interior. Translation? These things can move. And just as importantly, they stop as quickly as they go. Ryan says the only thing that impresses drivers as much as the cars’ speed is their braking ability. And amazingly, because the cars are TDI clean diesel, they get 20 miles per gallon, even on the racetrack.

Ryan adds that the cars are perfect for novice drivers: “They’re very effortless to drive. The fact that they have a DSG transmission means that anybody can drive them.” He adds that, since the DSG transmission offers the ease of an automatic, drivers aren’t worried about shifting, so they’re able to focus on more important things, like “learning how to maneuver around the track.”

So if you’ve got a lead foot, drag it over to the New Jersey Motorsports Park Racing School and put it to good use. The next track days are September 20th and 22nd, and Ryan and his staff would be more than happy to get you behind the wheel and show you a thing or two about going fast.

Tell us: why do you think you’d be a good racecar driver?

Photo Credit: Terry Hall Photography


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