VW CUP GRID BOLSTERED


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Former Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion Mike Neuhoff and race novice Simon Elliott, the Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in the UK, are among the drivers lining up to contest next week's (16 Aug) Silverstone rounds of the Hankook-backed championship.

Northamptonshire-based racer Neuhoff, 39, will pilot a 2-litre Volkswagen Lupo created by ex-Honda F1 technician Kevin Poole. Neuhoff gave the car a front-running track debut in the Silverstone 24 Hours last season.

It is now fitted with a 2-litre ex-Golf GTI normally aspirated petrol engine and will, says KPM Racing boss Poole, be a potent weapon: "It has the same engine as the Golf driven by the championship leader, Didge Dziurzynski, and hopefully we can give Didge a run for his money. Mike is a great talent and I am looking forward to working with him again."

Neuhoff was Porsche 924 Champion in 1994 and won six rounds of the 2001 Volkswagen Racing Cup on his way to the title. Mike's RacingLine-run Golf TDI claimed the first British race wins for a diesel-engined car in 2002, and he was a race winner again in 2004 in a Corrado.

"I haven't raced since the Silverstone 24 Hours a year ago," says Mike, "so I need to get in training. At least I know the car, even if when I raced it last it had a diesel engine. It will be good to get back in action."

Another returning face expected at Silverstone is that of Nick Beaumont, who was third in the championship in 2003. He will pilot the Europcar-backed Golf GTI usually raced by Michael McInerney.

Simon Elliott is following in the wheeltracks of Peter Wyhinny, his predecessor at the helm of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, who made his track debut in the Racing Cup in 2002 and who has raced a Caddy van every season since.

Elliott will drive a RacingLine-prepared Golf GTI bedecked in the colours of Scunthorpe United FC, of which he is a director. "It's something I've always wanted to do," he says. "I've done track days and so on but have never had the opportunity before now to race competitively. RacingLine have led me through passing my track test and getting my licence and, if I enjoy my debut I'll definitely look at doing some more."

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