MILLVILLE, N.J., May 8 - Just 0.006 seconds separated today's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup pole winner, Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle, from second position qualifier Wyatt Gooden (Rookie) in today's qualifications at New Jersey Motorsports Park. That fraction of a second marks the closest margin between the top-two qualifiers in Series history; and with six rookies in the top-eight it's anybody's guess who will come away with the checkered flag tomorrow.
The field is set for Round Three of the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup tomorrow at 12:25 pm Eastern Time; and Sierra Lendle will lead the field to the green flag, followed by Gooden, Juan Pablo Delgado, Arie Ouimet (Rookie) and Kevin Gleason (Rookie) who round out the top-five.
"What a day," said Sierra Lendle after qualifying. "This is my first pole this season (his second career Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup pole) and I'm really excited to be starting first tomorrow. The conditions out there were very challenging with the wind and dust on the track. We were all very close and it was very competitive out there, so I'm extremely proud of my performance. I want to thank my family, who came in from Mexico to support me as well as my sponsor Volkswagen Mexico. My job this weekend is just half over, tomorrow we'll go out and see if we can finish it."
Jetta TDI Cup News & Notes:
Competitive Racing is the Name of the Game in New Jersey
Today's on-track action saw the closest qualifying session in Series history; coupled with the fact that the majority of drivers qualifying in the top-ten are rookies goes to show that this could be the strongest crop of drivers ever.
"We all had high hopes for this year's drivers beginning at Driver Selection and they've lived up to all our expectations," explains Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Chief Instructor, Jan Heylen. "If you go from 1-25, I think we've got the most competitive field we've seen in the Series. Today we saw the rookies filling the top-ten in qualifications, and it's only the second race weekend of the season. They've been able to work up to the level of the veterans and it's been quite impressive thus far. The field, as a group, is closer than ever before and it's really encouraging to see such competitive racing this early in the year. I think we're in for a fantastic race tomorrow and the racing should only get better."
Drivers Hit the Gym
In keeping with one of its primary goals of developing the careers of young, talented drivers, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is constantly looking to educate its participants in all aspects of motorsport. Not only do they receive instruction in the racecar, but Series officials also work with the drivers on all facets of the sport from data analysis, to fitness training, to marketing and public relations education. Throughout the season, the Series instructors provide countless resources and classroom instruction, in addition to track time, in order to evolve each participant into a complete racecar driver.
The educational focus of this weekend's event at New Jersey Motorsports Park is driver fitness. Beginning this past February at driver selection, Volkswagen began working once again with Athlete's Performance, a world-class training facility that works with some of the best professional athletes in the world, to work with this year's drivers. Once the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup field was selected, they went through two days of rigorous fitness evaluations with the same Athlete's Performance trainers that work with professional racecar drivers; as well as professional football, baseball and basketball players on a regular basis.
The first day allowed the trainers to get a baseline fitness level for each of the 25 athletes. On the second day, the drivers went through an extensive workout session, as well as received a "nutrition 101" course. Once initial evaluations were complete, the trainers then worked with the Series driving instructors to design a tailored workout regimen geared towards drivers.
The drivers were then issued their workout regimens as well as given Athlete's Performance online resources such as meal guides, training tips and fitness plans. Drivers were also given workout logbooks that they must fill out during the course of the season and present at each race weekend, so the instructors can monitor progression and results throughout the year.
This weekend will mark the first in a series of driver fitness evaluations designed to make sure that each participant is achieving their proper training goals to compete in motorsports at the professional level. Each participant will be tested with a 45-minute run to make sure their mile times are meeting the requirements, as well as evaluated on their flexibility and strength levels.
"Fitness training is of paramount importance as these drivers continue to grow as racecar drivers," said Mark Miller, Jetta TDI Cup Driving Instructor. "As the sport of auto racing becomes increasingly competitive, fitness is something drivers look to improve upon to give them an extra edge. Professional drivers are placing more and more importance on their strength and stamina and it's important that our Series participants understand that at this early stage in their careers. I think this weekend's evaluations will provide a great benchmark for all the drivers and will give them a helpful reference point to chart their improvement throughout the year."
TDI Clean Diesel Sets Sales Pace for Volkswagen
Volkswagen of America, Inc. reported this week April 2010 sales of 23,135 total units, a 42% increase over April 2009, and its tenth consecutive month of sales growth. For the year-to-date, Volkswagen's sales have risen 39.4% versus the same timeframe in 2009.
Much like its counterparts at the racetrack, Volkswagen's full line of award-winning TDI® Clean Diesel models, which includes the Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Golf, and Touareg, again led the way among customers. The exciting and economical Jetta SportWagen TDI continued its strong performance, accounting for 84.0% of all Jetta SportWagens sold in April.
The sporty Tiguan compact SUV posted its strongest month ever with 1,888 units sold, a 56.6% increase compared with April 2009.
"Continued strong performance across its full line of new Volkswagen models offers further proof that more and more customers are recognizing the brand for its quality, value and driving enjoyment," said Mark Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "As we continue to gain positive momentum, we believe that our continued new product introductions will deliver even greater growth in the months ahead."
Guest Driver and Skateboarding Legend Rune Glifberg Behind the Wheel for the First Time
This weekend, 2008 & 2009 X-Games Skateboard Park gold medal winner, Rune Glifberg, has joined the field for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup event at New Jersey Motorsports Park. While Glifberg has driven at several racing schools, tomorrow's event will mark the first time the skateboarding legend has competed in an auto race.
"So far it's been a lot of fun out there," said Glifberg who qualified 25th in the field. "The conditions were a bit windy and dusty, which made the day challenging, but I think I learned a lot during practice and qualifying. I don't have a whole lot of experience with front-wheel drive cars, so that took some getting used to, but I definitely made some progress. Now I know what the car can do and I learned a lot about the track, so I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow's race. These guys love to draft, they get up behind you real close, which should make tomorrow a lot of fun."
Follow the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series action on:
Live Timing & Scoring: http://livetiming.net/scca/VW
Live Timing & Scoring for your Mobile Device: http://livetiming.net/SCCA/VW/html.asp
About the 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 powered Jetta TDI's. Each driver competing in the Series earns a professional racing license from SCCA Pro Racing 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. Series sponsors include: Pirelli, Bosch, ViON, Castrol, Oakley, Red Bull, Staubli, Aggreko, defNder, Lamin-X, Volkswagen Driver Gear, Volkswagen Parts & Service, iRacing, Safety-Kleen and Ringer Gloves.
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 to learn more.
About SCCA Pro Racing:
A wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Car Club of America, Inc., SCCA Pro Racing Inc. is a leading sanctioning body for motorsports events in the United States. A member of the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS), SCCA Pro Racing operates and sanctions the World Challenge Championships, the SCCA Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, SCCA Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, SCCA Pro Trans-Am Series, Spec Racer Ford Pro Series and Formula Enterprises Pro Series. For more information, please visit www.sccapro.com