HUGE FIELD PROMISED FOR VW CUP FINALE
James Walker is favourite to secure the VW Cup title at Donington. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com
A grid of more than 30 cars is set to contest this weekend’s final rounds of the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup at Donington Park as Scirocco driver James Walker bids to clinch the championship title.
The bumper entry – which could set a new championship record – underlines the Volkswagen Racing Cup’s position as the best-supported and promoted one-make saloon series in the UK. It’s a fitting end to an extremely competitive season which has seen nine different drivers win races at the wheel of four varieties of Volkswagen prepared by four different teams. The title fight comes down to a battle between two drivers: KPM’s Walker and Complete Racing man Tom Wilson.
Walker has led the championship since the opening meeting of the season at Oulton Park (albeit jointly at that stage with Aaron Mason) and has two race wins and seven further podium finishes under his belt with the Cooke and Mason Scirocco R. It’s a superb track record and his tally of 474 points can be surpassed only by Wilson. However, even if Tom and his Golf GTI were to complete a tall order by taking pole and winning both Donington races, Walker needs only a couple of top-11 finishes to complete the job.
At stake is one of the best prizes in British motorsport – a fully funded outing in next month’s final round of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at Hockenheim in Germany.
“The plan is to be steady away and to try to get fifth in the first race,” said James. “I think from my calculations that fifth is what we need to tie it up; if not, then a couple of nice steady finishes ahead of Tom Wilson. We have a lot of sponsors going next weekend, so it would be nice to do it in race one and then be able to celebrate with them.”
“What happens at Donington will all be down to the luck of the draw really,” added Wilson. “I’m pleased with the way things have gone for me this season and whatever happens I should be good for third or possibly second in the championship; anything else would be a bonus.”
Walker wants to end his season on a high note with a home victory, but he hasn’t won a race since Brands Hatch in May, and there are plenty more race winners and potential victors in the field, such as Mason, who won at Oulton and Rockingham but whose AWM Golf has been beset by all sorts of technical problems since. Joe Fulbrook is another: the Bora man had hoped his Warranty Direct Bora’s woes were banished after his Snetterton win, but they returned to blight his Silverstone weekend earlier this month.
Derbyshire’s Jim Cartwright shared the victory spoils with Walker at Brands Hatch and made the podium twice last time: he could be another chance for a home win. The remaining championship top 10 men are Golf GTI racers Mike Neuhoff, who won at Spa and is in battle with Wilson for championship second, Birmingham-based Stewart Lines, Simon Andrews and Richard Morgan. Tom Wilson’s father Jonathan, meanwhile, is bidding not only to hang on to championship 10th in his Scirocco but also to end the season as the top rookie.
Donington Park will see another former BTCC racer join the grid. Arthur Forster follows in the wheeltracks of Tom Onslow-Cole, Rob Austin, Tony Gilham, Shaun Hollamby and Martin Depper.
Former Mini Challenge Champion Forster will race the KPM Scirocco driven to victory at Snetterton by Onslow-Cole and at Silverstone by Depper. Said Forster: “Martin called me after the last race at Silverstone and said ‘How do you fancy coming to do this? It’s great.’ So I put my name down and that was it; I’m really looking forward to it. I know that Martin got a real buzz from the championship.”
Also joining the KPM regulars will be Derby hero Peter Felix, looking to follow up on his home circuit the second-place finish he scored last time out. Meanwhile, Paul Wyhinny will be at the wheel of the SEAT Leon Cupra usually raced by his father, Peter. KPM’s entry also includes cars forPhilip Morris and David Fairbrother, Cameron Thompson and Jack Walker-Tulley.
AWM Motorsport will field twin Golfs for Mason and Simon Tomlinson, with Tony Gilham’s Team HARD preparing GTIs for Nikhil Chopra, Lucy Ramsden, Richard Kingsnorth andHenry Gilbert.
The Slidesports team entry may yet rise to seven, with a new Scirocco nearing completion in the team’s workshops to join the sister car of Kieran Griffin and five Golfs, for Chris Levett, Paul Dehadray, Morgan, Mark Clynes and Craig Milner.
Also expected on the Donington grid are the Beetles of Tony Harberman and Robin Riley, and Doug Ross’s Polo GTI.
For more information visit www.vw-cup.co.uk