Port Elizabeth - This is the new Engen Polo Cup racing car, revved up and ready for the 22nd season of Volkswagen’s one-make national racing series, where engine performance is kept equal to provide close racing and teams are limited as to chassis setup and tyre pressures.
The result, historically, has been an immensely competitive environment, which has produced 16 different winners, with only five drivers managing to win the series more than once.
But this year, for the first time, the race cars are based not on the standard Polo, but on the GTI version, due for South African release in the second quarter of 2018. Each has a two-litre turbopetrol four delivering 150kW and 340Nm at a regulated one bar of boost, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox borrowed from the Golf 7 GTI.
Push to pass
Another new feature this year is Push to Pass, which will give the drivers an extra 20kW for 10 seconds. How many times per race each driver will be able to use it will vary according to which venue they’re at (some circuits are more difficult to overtake on than others) and where individual drivers are on the grid - always with the objective of having as many competitors as possible fighting for the lead on the final lap of each race. Expect fireworks.
Each car is fitted with South African made SAX shock absorbers, which are sealed and controlled, with specified and controlled springs all round, and runs on identical Dunlop semi-slick tyres.
The eight-round Polo Cup racing season will start on 24 March at Kyalami with a field of at least 22 privateers and two factory-supported drivers - 2017 Driver Search winner Raais Asmal and last year’s Rookie of the Year winner, Jonathan Mogotsi.