Drew with VW
I grew up watching and attending races but constantly found myself growing bored between the racing action. This past weekend I traveled to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH, for the Pirelli World Challenge races, but here, spectators never had a chance to be bored. The series usually travels alongside other racing organizations, making the respective tracks jam-packed with alternating action for entire weekends. Seven VWs entered the weekend, including GLIs and GTIs, and ran some of the fastest times in the Touring Class.
As I mentioned in my previous Laguna Seca post, the GTIs and GLIs are great platforms for the Touring Class as both can be track-ready with very few modifications. In addition, cars with the DSG transmission—which is unique to VWs in the TC class—can give teams an edge because there is no turbo boost lost during shifting. This allows drivers to focus on braking points and other facets of racing rather than trying to match engine revs.
Pirelli WC had two races packed into the weekend: one Saturday and one Sunday. Saturday’s race conditions allowed for fast lap times and clean racing with several VWs achieving strong finishes, including a 2nd place podium for Emich Racing/3Zero3 Motorsports’ 2012 GLI. Sunday’s race was quite the opposite. It rained all morning and throughout the race, making traction difficult to come by. While the slick track made driving difficult for the racers, I found it extra exciting to watch. The front wheel drive GLIs and GTIs even passed heavily modified cars from the GTS class throughout the race. All that power and weight to competitors’ rear wheels made late braking and corner exits extremely difficult in wet conditions. The APR MKVI GTI claimed the 3rd spot on the podium, a strong showing after making passes on most of the field.
While trying to catch as much racing action as possible, I heard a few familiar drivers’ names announced over the loudspeaker. As it turned out, several former TDI Cup drivers were onsite and continuing to excel in their racing careers, including Andy Lee with Best IT/Bondurant Racing and Kevin Gleason with Napleton Porsche.
The races were delayed shortly on Sunday while officials waited for heavy rains to dissipate, so I passed the time by walking around the exhibitor area and seeing what free stuff I could score. Booths from tire companies, aftermarket shops, video game publishers, and greasy food vendors abound. Health conscious fans be warned: there is no “light” option to be found. As always, Volkswagen was onsite to show support for the private teams and fans with a trailer and several performance-inspired models—shown below—and a great contingency program that handsomely rewards a VW pole-sitter and the top three finishing VWs.