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Volkswagen Racing Cup frontrunner James Walker is to swap diesel power for petrol propulsion for next month’s Donington Park final rounds of the Hankook-backed championship.
The 22-year-old from Nottinghamshire led the championship in May after a convincing race win at Rockingham in his Golf TDI – the first for a turbodiesel since 2006 – but has since struggled for results. Now his SildeSports-prepared machine is having a 2-litre turbocharged petrol motor installed to turn it into a Golf GTI.
‘It’s a real disappointment to be abandoning the diesel because the short gearshifts and superb torque made the Golf a joy to drive,’ said Walker. ‘The problem is one of reliability and of a lack of top-end power. We really suffered at Silverstone against the petrol cars and have decided that it’s easier to join them than to beat them.’
SildeSports chief Mark Jenkins added: ‘The potential to make the turbodiesel competitive is certainly there but adopting a petrol unit is going to be a more cost-effective route for James.’
Walker, younger son of truck racing legend Richard, will give his Chek Whyte Industries-backed GTI its debut at the 11/12 October Donington rounds in preparation for a full assault on the championship in 2009. SlideSports will also be fielding the Golf GTIs of Mike Kurton and promising youngster James Griffiths. All three are looking to finish the season in the championship top 10.
The Donington races will decide the outcome of the Volkswagen Racing Cup crown: Bora-borne Joe Fulbrook and Golf driver Jamie Perry will be going head to head for top honours.
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook is additionally supported by Augustus Martin, Castrol, Ceva Logistics, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Milltek Sport, Mondial Assistance, KW Automotive, Superchips, Turbo Dynamics, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services UK.