16 YEAR OLD JOINS VW CUP GRID
16-year-old Nikhil Chopra takes tuition from BTCC and Volkswagen Racing Cup ace Tony Gilham. Photo: Image Vaults
Talented kart star Nikhil Chopra is set to become one of the youngest-ever drivers the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup has ever seen. The Essex-based driver will still be 16 when he lines up on the grid at Oulton Park for the opening round on Easter Monday (9 April).
Nikhil won’t reach legal road-driving age until the second weekend of the season, in May, at his home track of Brands Hatch. He will be racing a four-wheel-drive Golf R32 prepared in the Hainault workshops of his main sponsor, Prestige Performance Centre, and looked after at the circuits by Tony Gilham Racing.
Former Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion Gilham – who will be racing in the series himself this season as well as in the BTCC – has been helping show Nikhil the way around Oulton Park and Brands Hatch in pre-season testing.
“Prestige Performance Centre has given me a great opportunity,” says Nikhil. “Their technicians’ knowledge of tuning cars is immense, and head technician Keith Davies has a wealth of personal experience in the racing world. He helped Tony Gilham win the championship and also worked three seasons in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
“With this amount of back-up I am sure we will have a fighting chance. All I need now is time in the race car to practise and to learn the circuits,” adds Chopra, who has raced karts since he was eight.
The championship’s youngest-ever competitor was Zoe Wenham, who in 2010 raced a Golf GTI 15 days after her 16th birthday.
The APR Volkswagen Racing Cup features a 14-race calendar in 2012 with rounds supporting British GT, German Touring Cars and the Spa-Francorchamps 25 Hour Fun Cup. The series enjoys additional support from Ceva, ECM, Eibach, Hankook, Milltek Sport and Paragon.
For more information visit www.vw-cup.co.uk