Volkswagen's latest track challenger, a supercharged and turbocharged Jetta saloon, was unveiled in Britain.
The Jetta TSI Sport made its debut at the Autosport International racing car show at Birmingham's NEC, taking center stage on the British Racing and Sports Car Club stand. The new machine will take to the track for the first time on Easter Monday (March 24) in the opening round of the Hankook-backed Volkswagen Racing Cup, at Oulton Park.
In road-going form the Jetta's 1.4-litre, 16-valve engine produces 170hp but the engineers at Volkswagen Racing UK, with the help of their technology partners at Superchips, Milltek Sport and Turbo Dynamics, have boosted this to 230hp.The TSI power unit was proven in competition last season under the bonnet of a Golf; Volkswagen Racing's Melissa Wright believes that the Jetta TSI is a potential race winner: "We learned a lot about the engine during the course of 2007 and we have incorporated that knowledge into the new installation," she said. "In the right hands and with some development mileage under it, the new car will be a front-runner, I am sure."
The TSI features an engine-driven supercharger and an exhaust gas powered turbocharger, arranged in series; the supercharger operates at lower engine speeds and the turbo cuts in as revs rise. The result is excellent drivability and performance throughout the rev range, with no turbo lag and high maximum torque. The power unit was named Best New Engine of 2006 in the International Engine of the Year Awards.
It's not only in Britain that the Jetta will be cutting a dash this season - the Sports Car Club of America is to stage a championship for turbodiesel-powered machines. The Jetta TDI Cup will launch in May.
In the UK, the Jetta TSI Sport will be raced by selected motoring and motor sport journalists. The Volkswagen Racing Cup expands to 14 rounds this year and will once again be the chief saloon-race support to the British Formula 3 and British GT Championships.