Jetta TSI racecar to race in VW Cup

The Audi R10 diesel shook up the racing world when it stormed onto the Le Mans circuit in 2006, and now Audi parent company Volkswagen is applying some of the lessons it learned there to its sports car racing program by introducing the petrol-powered VW Jetta TSI racer. The racer’s debut marks the kickoff of two race series – the Volkswagen Racing Cup in the U.K., which will feature the Jetta TSI and the Jetta TDI Cup in the U.S., which will feature the Jetta TDI – and for the U.S. at least, marks the return of the production VW Jetta diesel to its shores.

The 1.4L mill inside the production car manages a healthy 167hp, but in race trim the engine will produce 226hp, thanks to technology and tuning from Superchips, Milltek Sport and Turbo Dynamics. The same motor powered a Golf last season, so it should have most of the bugs worked out of it and be ready to race. Other goodies affixed to the race model include a six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential, a sintered metal plate clutch, a race-spec exhaust and massive 360mm vented discs up front matched to twelve pot calipers. The 2,690lb (1,223kg) car rides on 18inch alloy BBS wheels and 225/40 Z-speed rated Hankook tires.

Instead of twin turbos, the TSI features a supercharger to get the boost going at lower engine speeds and a turbocharger to keep pouring it on once the engine is revving healthily. The benefit is no noticeable turbo lag and excellent performance from very little displacement. The engine was honored with the title of Best New Engine of 2006 at the International Engine of the Year Awards, so it is already recognized as an excellent engine. Only the brutal environment provided by a full-fledged race series – or two – will show if the TSI engine under the hood of the Jetta has what it takes to be a winner.

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