HERNDON, Va., March 25 This Sunday, Volkswagen Jetta TDI® Cup chief driving instructor, Jan Heylen, will be hitting the streets of St. Petersburg in order to compete in the season-opening event for the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Heylen has completed a single-race deal with Team E Racing, 2008 Indy Lights "New Team of the Year," to make his Series debut as he pilots the No. 17 machine around the 1.8-mile temporary street course in south Florida.
"Team E Racing is thrilled to have a veteran driver like Jan Heylen in the car this weekend at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix," said Neil Enerson, Owner of Team E Racing. "Jan is a true professional. Should Team E acquire the sponsorship to run the entire season, Jan is a definite contender for the Championship title. We are very short on time but hope to find a partner to allow us to compete the entire 2010 season."
Heylen tested with Team E Racing this past February in an Indy Lights Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., where he recorded the fifth quickest lap in just his first time behind the wheel of an Indy Lights car. Prior to that test, the 2007 season marks the last time Heylen competed in an open-wheel car, when he fulfilled driving duties for Conquest Racing in two events in the Champ Car World Series. That year, Heylen would earn a second-place finish at Assen, Holland, which was Conquest Racing's best-ever result. In 2006, Heylon drove for Dale Coyne Racing and earned a season-best fifth-place finish in Cleveland.
"This is a great opportunity that Neil Enerson and Team E Racing has extended to me and I am looking forward to getting back in the cockpit of an open-wheel racecar," said Heylen. "It has been almost three years since my last open-wheel race, so I am expecting that it will take me a few laps to get my footing again. I certainly wouldn't have been able to make this happen without people behind the scenes pushing me. I have to thank in advance Volkswagen Motorsport USA, Oakley and PHR and I look forward to bringing home a victory for everyone."
When not pursuing his own racing career, which has included Championship wins in the former Renault Eurocup and British Formula Ford Festival and a stint in the Champ Car World Series, Heylen serves as the chief driving instructor for the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series. He is also the lead testing and development driver for the Series. The Series' 2010 season-opener will be held at VIRginia International Raceway on April 24th.
About Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup
The SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup was launched in 2008 as way to introduce clean diesel technology to the U.S. market and develop the best of motorsport's up-and-coming talent. During the season, young, up and coming drivers (between ages 16-26) compete on road courses around North America in identical factory-prepared clean diesel Jetta TDI's. Each driver competing in the series earns a Pro Racing license from SCCA at the conclusion of the season. In addition to more than $50,000 in prize money at stake during the season, the Series Champion receives Volkswagen factory career advancement support with a value up to $100,000.
The Jetta TDI Cup car is powered by a 2.0-liter, 170 hp, four-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine mated to a six-speed, double-clutch, automatic DSG transmission. The car is only slightly modified from stock with Pirelli racing tires, race suspension and brake components, drivers racing safety seat, FIA roll cage and an on-board fire extinguisher system.
Fans can log on to watch live timing and scoring during Jetta TDI Cup events at: http://livetiming.net/scca/VW.
About Volkswagen of America
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Golf, GTI, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Eos, Passat, Passat Wagon, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. All 2010 Volkswagens come standard-equipped with Electronic Stabilization Program. This is important because the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called ESC the most effective new vehicle safety technology since the safety belt. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com