Volkswagen Racing Cup Preview
The Volkswagen Racing Cup returns to the British GT package celebrating its 20th season. Set up at the turn of the millennium, the championship is one of the UK’s most successful one-make series with a wealth of history behind it. 2017 champion Bobby Thompson is now racing the #19 Volkswagen CC in the British Touring Car Championship and last weekend won a Jack Sears Trophy, setting a fastest lap. Many of the drivers racing this weekend will be aiming to follow in the 22-year-old’s footsteps.
Boasting the VW Golf, Scirocco, as well as the Audi TT, the series has never lacked variety and action. Last year, eleven different drivers took the top step as the championship came down to a nail-biting final race at Donington Park, where Jamie Bond took the final VW Cup title for Team HARD.
2019 will also feature, not one, but two Father/Son pairings. Swanflight return for their third season, with Simon and Owen Walton once again manning the red and white Audi TT cars. The pair recorded one win and four further podiums and will be showcasing the cars new developments for the season. Also returning to the series will be ex-BTCC racer Martin Depper and his son Jack, both driving for Maximum Motorsport. Martin made a number of appearances in early 2018, winning two races and temporarily leading the championship.
VAG Trophy vice-champion Mark Steel moves up to the full VW Cup, racing the Golf Mk7 for SlideSports. 2005 runner-up Mark Smith makes a return, as series veteran Russell Joyce continues his relationship with Power Maxed Racing. After his incredible run at the end of 2018 Josh Coggan joins Darelle Wilson at DW Racing. Meanwhile Mark Wakefield will be running his Golf independently, overseeing the return of Mark Wakefield Racing with HSG Motorsport.
Cheshire-born trio Richard Gilbert, Michael Jones and Radical Challenge driver Dan Crossley all join the 2016 champions JW Bird Motorsports. Crossley is not a complete stranger to the series, last racing the VW’s at Oulton Park ten years ago and like his teammates will be looking to get up to speed on familiar ground. The experienced Matthew Evans and Tony Prendergast are welcomed back with JW Bird and will be looking to lead the team to greater success this season.
Maximum Motorsport will also see two further newcomers to the Cup, as Jeff Alden and Lewis Smith join the outfit. Smith will be hoping to build momentum after winning the intermarque saloon-based Super Silhouette Championship last year.
BTCC racer Brett Smith completes the Maximum Motorsport line-up. The 2017 MINI Challenge champion and Eurotech driver picked up a podium in the top category last season and will be expected to challenge for the Volkswagen title this year. The Maximum team will also provide the prize for this season’s title offering the champion a free test in the TCR UK car.
Sadly for many involved, our friend and popular driver Tom Walker will no longer be involved in the championship after passing away at the start of the year. Our condolences go to the former-Maximum Motorsport’s racer and his family.
In respect, the VW Cup are introducing the Tom Walker Memorial Trophy for Oulton Park. The highest scoring driver across the weekend will have their name inscribed on the award that will be passed down to next year’s winner. The Tom Walker Memorial Trophy will become an annual event within the Volkswagen Racing Cup going forward.