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If you thought MINI’s challenge to Porsche was a bold move, then get a load of this. Legendary racer Hans-Joachim Stuck has challenged two-time DTM Champion Timo Scheider to a one lap race of the Nurburgring. Scheider will be piloting his Audi A4 DTM race car and Stuck will be driving… a MAN race truck?
Yup, while racing trucks has never caught on on this side of the Atlantic, it’s growing in popularity over in Europe. But don’t think this will be an equal fight, with Scheider prepared to give Stuck a 10 second lead.
The whole event is really just a cleverly designed marketing stunt with both the MAN truck brand and Audi falling under the Volkswagen umbrella of companies. And guess who heads up VW’s motorsport department? That’s right, Hans-Joachim Stuck.
Still, it should make for some excellent entertainment when the two vehicles take to the track this Sunday, July 25th.
[Source: Truck Grand Prix]
VW is considering an entry into the Grand Am series
Of all the high profile individuals to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale this past weekend at Homestead in Miami, none have created a buzz like the appearance of legendary race car driver and head of Volkswagen’s motorsports department Hans-Joachim Stuck.
His attendance at the race and meetings with series officials has obviously led to the speculation that Volkswagen may be entertaining an entry into the high-profile series. Stuck discounted the rumors telling Autosport that, “I’m here number one because I’m a great NASCAR fan and I’m here on holiday. I’m enjoying my visit and I will report what’s going on. But in any way there has been nothing, no serious talks about coming here.” He did continue by saying that, “Of course we investigate everything, ” but then countered with a definitive statement that there is currently “zero” chance of VW joining the series.
That may all change when VW launches its new, made in America, mid-size sedan in 2011. Stuck said that the current NASCAR setup wouldn’t allow for VW to show its engineering expertise and that it would simply have to use the series as a marketing gimmick. That being said, he didn’t think it would fit with VW’s motorsports philosophy.
Then again, with the upcoming Passat replacement, VW has already thrown in the towel on its decades long approach to having American’s see cars the way Germans do and has decided to pander to the demands of the market, with a car that will be bigger, less premium and less expensive. Volkswagen is eager to take on Toyota in the U.S. market and doing so in NASCAR, which Toyota joined just a few years back in an effort to take on the Big Three domestic automakers, would seem a logical decision.
Stuck did, however, confirm that Volkswagen has been in talks with NASCAR over a possible entry into the Grand Am series, likely in the Daytona Prototype Class, using a V10 engine. The car would likely be branded as either an Audi (more likely) or as a Lamborghini.
Audi has its sights set of the Nürburgring 24 Hour race and it intends to not only take home the top spot but perhaps the entire podium as it has announced plans to campaign a fleet of R8 LMS GT3 cars.
Teams ABT Sportsline and Phoenix Racing will bring two cars apiece with factory support from Audi. The 500hp cars are built for racing and Audi has stacked the deck with a long list of some of the greatest drivers in motorsports.
The No. 100 ABT Sportsline car will be piloted by reigning DTM Champion Timo Scheider, along with his DTM teammate Mattias Ekström and three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner. The second ABT Sportsline car, No. 97, will be driven by Christian Abt, Jean-François Hemroulle, Pierre Kaffer and Lucas Luhr.
As for the two Phoenix Racing cars, the No. 98 R8 will be driven by Frank Stippler, Mike Rockenfeller and Marc Basseng, a man who has help the Nürburgring fastest lap record several times.
The No. 99 Phoenix Racing R8 will be piloted by Frank Biela, Marcel Fässler, Emanuele Pirro (an Audi Sport R8 and R10 TDI driver) and none other than Hans-Joachim Stuck, a man who has won the Nürburgring 24 Hour race three times.
“The 24 Hours is not only one of the biggest motorsport events in Germany,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The Nürburgring-Nordschleife is considered one of the world’s toughest and most demanding race tracks. Similar to Sebring for the sports prototypes, it is superbly suited for revealing the final improvement potential of any new race car. This is exactly what we’re planning to do at the 24-hour race before delivering the R8 LMS to customers, starting this fall.”
The 37th running of the Nürburgring 24 Hour race will begin May 23rd and conclude May 24th.
Normally the Nürburgring 24 Hour race is a Porsche dominated affair, but we have a feeling this year might be a little different.
Official release after the jump:
The sixth generation GTI is set to launch any day now in Germany and Volkswagen has just released some (but not all) of the details on Germany’s hottest hatch. Not only does it get a new look and more powerful engine but is also comes with several new innovations and has been built with the input of legendary racer Hans-Joachim Stuck – a confessed GTI-freak.
“Even when I was under contract with BMW, I preferred to drive to the Nürburgring in a GTI,” said Stuck. “It was in a GTI that I drove 911 drivers to distraction on the North Loop. My wife was even driving
a GTI when she first caught my attention.”
The new GTI continues to use the 2.0-liter TFSI engine but with a slight bump in power to 210 ps (207hp). All that power is available as early as 5300 rpm and stays on full until 6200 rpm. Max torque is rates at 206.5 ft-lbs and comes on at just 1700 rpm. “In practice, this means impressive power in all of life’s situations,” say Stuck.
This is enough, says VW, for the 2010 GTI to accelerate to 62 mph in just 6.9 seconds. Top speed is 150 mph.
VW also made sure to make the revised engine more fuel efficient with an average fuel economy rating of 32.2 mpg. To give this perspective, the fifth generation GTI was capable of 31.4.
There is, however, more to the performance improvements in the new GTI than just more power. For starters, Stuck helped in completely redesigning the suspension of the car. The springs, shocks and rear stabilizer bar have all been completely reworked for a better handling car. The GTI also sits lower than the standard Golf, by 22mm up front and 15mm in the rear.
Add to this the fact that the GTI VI gets Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), allowing the shocks to continuously react to the road conditions and driver’s inputs to provide the best suspension for that moment. The shocks will even adjust according to acceleration, braking and steering inputs to stiffen the suspension in fractions of a second, reducing pitch and roll in the chassis.
The DCC system also lets driver’s choose the sort of driving characteristic they want by opting for a “Normal,” “Sport,” or “Comfort” setting.
The DCC system “produces an ideal synthesis of great comfort and excellent handling properties in the GTI,” says Stuck. “There are of course many sporty cars that are simply too stiff. Yet this one is always right.”
An additional technological advancement found in the sixth-generation GTI is what VW calls XDS – or an electronic transverse differential lock. What this system does is apply a slight amount of brakes to an inside wheel that has begun to slip while cornering. This slows the inside wheel to a rotational speed similar to the outside wheel and thereby provides maximum grip. VW says this system makes the GTI feel more like an all-wheel drive car than a front wheel drive car.
“XDS gives the car an enormous measure of driving stability. And it leads to greater driving enjoyment, since it reduces understeering,” says Stuck. “Experienced sports car drivers will be much more active underway. Yet, XDS is a very important safety feature for normal drivers too, because they will not experience any unpleasant surprises with the GTI.”
Other highlights offered on the new GTI are Adaptive Cruise control, bi-xenon headlights with 13 degrees of movement and a second generation of VW’s Park Assist, which, like the well-known (and much maligned) Lexus system will help a driver parallel park. Drivers just need to operate the gas and brake (as well as the clutch in manual transmission cars) and the car will do the rest. The new system has been improved to allow for parking in tighter spaces, with just 3.6 feet on either side of the car, down from 4.6 feet on the previous generation.
Add all this together with a new look (including a new twin-pipe exhaust design) and a stunning VW interior and the 2010 GTI is a complete package no matter what the road ahead looks like.
“The new GTI succeeds in bridging the gap between a serious business car during the
work week, and a competitor on the Nürburgring on the weekend,” says Stuck.
GALLERY: 2010 Volkswagen GTI
More on the new GTI after the jump: