For South African automobile producers, the hyperlink between motorsport participation and car advertising generally is a tenuous one, particularly in occasions when petrol costs drive automobile consumers to place gasoline effectivity earlier than efficiency.
Like, as an example, now. Be that as it might, Volkswagen’s Polo Cup racing class goes – and going sturdy – in its twenty sixth yr this season.
And – greater than a quarter-century after its inception – the method’s race vehicles nonetheless carefully signify a mannequin provided on the market to the general public.
For this author, that’s the Polo’s biggest asset – it’s by far South Africa’s hottest race automobile.
Spread throughout disciplines like Global SupaCup, the Inland Volkswagen Challenge, the CompCare Polo Cup, the Coastal GTI Challenge, Clubmans and SuperHatch there are extra Volkswagen Polos on native circuits than the vehicles of all the opposite producers mixed.
One of the primary causes is the CompCare Polo Cup collection, designed 26 years in the past to provide younger native drivers a ladder of alternative in circuit racing.
As Polo Cup Cars get changed, they get farmed out to membership racers, who take possession of nicely constructed, dependable competitors autos, that lend themselves to all kinds of modifications, ought to new homeowners so want.
The present CompCare Polo Cup race vehicles use precisely the identical turbocharged, four-cylinder, 1 998cc engine discovered within the road-going Volkswagen Polo GTI.
The engines are crated from Volkswagen SA to the race automobile builders at Volkswagen Motorsport and, other than being fitted with a Push to Pass machine, are an identical to those discovered within the showroom Polo GTI.
It develops 147 kW of energy between 4 400 rpm and 6 000 rpm, plus 320 Nm of torque between 1 500rpm and 4 350 rpm.
Polo Cup racers rev the facility plant 6 000 rpm on a regular basis – but, within the 4 years of utilizing them, not a single engine within the method has been blown up. The grunt and twist will get despatched to the entrance wheels by way of a six-speed DSG gearbox.
The wheels are 18-inch spoked alloy objects in 215/40 R18 rubber, the identical as these on the observe vehicles.
All of which makes the Volkswagen Polo GTI the closest street automobile to a circuit racer out there on this nation.
Sure, there are a selection of different, quicker street vehicles, the Polo GTI will speed up from standstill to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and packs a high pace of 238 km/h, however this Polo has racing DNA that transcends mere efficiency figures.
From the skin, it appears to be like pretty unassuming – Volkswagen have resisted the urge to bedeck it with stripes, giant spoilers or giant badges.
But, individuals within the know will have a look at the GTI nomenclature and perceive that it speaks of greatness.
The street automobile will seat 4 adults in consolation and 5 in a squeeze, accommodated on fabric upholstery.
Automatic local weather management is commonplace, as is an on-board laptop with Bluetooth connectivity, distant management locking, electrical home windows all-round, rain-sensor wipers, entrance armrests, an adjustable multi-function steering wheel, a USB port, heaters for the entrance seats and a heated rear window.
Pre-emptive security package contains ABS with brake help and traction management, stability management, daytime matrix LED lights, directional turning headlights, plus park distance management cameras entrance and rear.
In the occasion of a shunt, human cargo shall be protected by six airbags situated within the entrance, aspect and rear within the types of curtain airbags.
Driving the Polo GTI is about practical expectations. It is just not a supercar, and a few of our fellow motoring scribes fell into the entice of criticising the automobile as a result of it can’t tackle Porsches and the like.
What it will probably do, and really nicely, is to immerse and contain you behind the wheel. It is remarkably straightforward to drive, for all the best causes.
The energy comes on tune strongly and over a large rev vary. The steering is kart-like direct and offers you a number of suggestions, whereas the dealing with is excellent.
This Polo is planted, and says planted by corners at speeds too ridiculous for previous individuals like me to try.
Somehow, it simply feels proper, and if it weren’t for the bloody petrol worth, we’d have chosen to drive it the lengthy strategy to any vacation spot.
At R494 600, the Polo GTI comes with a 3 yr/120 000 km guarantee and a 3 yr/45 000 km service plan.
For extra data on the Polo GTI, click on right here.