Le Mans winners, DTM aces and extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner are among the star guests at the final round of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, which features a thrilling three-way battle for the prestigious title.
Experienced motorsport legends Manuel Reuter, Frank Biela (both D), Laurent Aïello and Éric Hélary (both F) are a guarantee of top-quality racing action in the ninth and final race of the season at the Hockenheimring on 19 October. Another genuine highlight is the appearance of Felix Baumgartner, who hit the headlines around the world a year ago with his record-breaking skydive from the stratosphere. The final leg of a thrilling battle for the title in the only natural-gas one-make cup in the world also promises pure drama: Kasper H. Jensen (DK) and Jordan Lee Pepper (ZA) have championship leader Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) in their sights.
The lowdown on all you need to know about the sixth and final race weekend in Hockenheim.
+++ Manuel Reuter (52) is a true touring car legend. After starting out in karting, the man from Mainz launched his career in the DTM in 1985. Over 15 years, he contested more than 200 races, winning a plethora of races and the title in 1996. The highlights of his motorsport career also include victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1989 and 1996, and success at the iconic Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2003. When the curtain fell on his motorsport career, Reuter moved into TV. Since 2006 he has been an esteemed co-commentator on ARD’s DTM coverage. In his private life, the father of one is a real-life “Ironman”: his biggest hobby is triathlon. +++
+++ Laurent Aïello (44) claimed his greatest success in the DTM in 2002, when he clinched the title ahead of record winner Bernd Schneider. The Frenchman had made his name with his first title in the French Supertouring Championship in 1994. His international touring car career included titles in Germany in 1997 and Great Britain in 1999. Probably his biggest success came with Porsche in Le Mans in 1998: together with team-mates Allan McNish and Stéphane Ortelli, Aïello won the legendary 24-hour race. In 2000 he switched to the DTM, where he lined up with Audi and soon established himself as one of the most popular drivers, thanks to his attractive driving style. +++
+++ Frank Biela (59) earned a reputation as guarantee of titles over the course of his dazzling motorsport career. In 110 races in the DTM, the German won nine races and was crowned champion in 1991. The man from Neuss won the Le Mans 24 Hours an incredible five times for Audi between 2000 and 2007. Biela also triumphed in the French Touring Car Championship in 1993, and the British Touring Car Championship in 1996. And Biela’s long list of successes also includes victories at the Touring Car World Cup at the Circuit Paul Ricard (1995) and the iconic Macau Grand Prix (1996). The racing legend is making his fifth appearance in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. In 2010, Biela lined up against his daughter Isabelle, who contested the entire season in the environmentally-sound one-make cup. +++
+++ After winning the title in 1987 Formula Ford series, Éric Hélary (47) stepped up into the French Formula 3 Championship and promptly added this title to his expanding collection. His greatest success came in Le Mans in 1993, when he won the famous 24-hour race alongside Geoff Brabham and Christophe Bouchut. In 2006, he finished runner-up with team-mate Sébastien Loeb, who now has a record-breaking nine World Rally Championship titles to his name. He lined up in the DTM between 2000 and 2002, before returning to the French equivalent. +++
+++ Felix Baumgartner (44) is a very different kind of legend. Almost exactly a year ago – on 14 October 2012 – the extreme sportsman skydived from a height of about 39 kilometres. The Red Bull Stratos project saw him become the first man ever to break the sound barrier in free fall. The top speed of Mach 1.25, or 1,357.6 km/h is one of three world records held by Baumgartner. The Volkswagen ambassador is now trying his hand in the Cup-Scirocco. He may not achieve quite the same speeds as he did during his record-breaking leap, but it will be exciting to see how Baumgartner fares on four wheels. +++
+++ The race for the title in the Scirocco R-Cup will be decided in a thrilling three-way battle in Hockenheim. 17-year-old Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) has won four of eight races and leads the series with 290 points. He is followed by Kasper H. Jensen (DK, 247 points), who claimed his first win of the year at the last race weekend in Oschersleben, and South African Jordan Lee Pepper (232). van der Linde needs only to finish twelfth or better in the final race to win the title. Points are awarded according to the following format in the Pro and Junior Cup: 60-48-40-34-32-30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2. +++
+++ Last year’s champion Ola Nilsson (25) is a fine example of how valuable the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup title can be. The Swede was in action in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia this year, where he won five races on the way to finishing runner-up overall. Nilsson’s impressive displays have earned him a guest start at the season finale of the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany in Hockenheim. Whilst there, he will be able to congratulate his successor in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. +++
+++ The director of a construction company will line up as a guest starter in the Scirocco R-Cup in Hockenheim. Englishman Aaron Mason (34) earned his place at the season finale by winning the Volkswagen Racing Cup in Great Britain. He won five races in his Cup-Scirocco this season and, with a total 16 triumphs to his name, is now the most successful driver in the history of this series. Incidentally, Mason only started out in motorsport in 2009. Another guest starter in Hockenheim is journalist Roger Frauenrath (47)from the Aachener Zeitung newspaper group. His place on the grid comes courtesy of victory at the season finale of the Volkswagen Motorsport Kart-Challenge powered by Dunlop, which took place at the Michael Schumacher Kartcenter in Kerpen. +++
+++ Like last season, the drivers can use the Push-to-pass system, which briefly increases the performance of the Scirocco by 50 hp to 210 kW (285 hp). New: unlike in 2012, it is not permitted to use Push-to-pass in qualifying. The use of the system is limited during the race itself: the drivers starting from the front three rows of the grid may push the extra-power button 15 times. Those in rows four to six have 16 uses at their disposal. The following three rows have one extra use. +++
+++ The predecessor to today’s Hockenheimring was built in 1932. The circuit consisted of 12 kilometres of dirt roads through woodland, and was initially used as a motorcycle circuit. The track did not have a tarred surface until 1935 and was watered down between races to reduce the amount of dust. +++
+++ The Scirocco R-Cup reaches its top speed at the Hockenheimring in the Parabolica corner. Here, the drivers hit top speeds of up to 200 km/h in sixth gear. The circuit is 4.574 kilometres long and features 17 corners. +++
+++ The most successful Scirocco R-Cup driver at the Hockenheimring is Sweden’s Ola Nilsson. He won one race in the debut season in 2010, and triumphed twice in 2012. The winner of this year’s opening race in Hockenheim was former Formula One driver Nicola Larini (I), one of the legends. +++
Quotes ahead of the sixth race weekend in Hockenheim
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director: “The Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup has once again shown emphatically this season, that top-class racing is also possible with an environmentally-sound, natural-gas engine. It is only appropriate that we can now look forward to a thrilling three-way battle for the title at the season finale in Hockenheim. DTM legends Laurent Aïello, Manuel Reuter, Frank Biela and Éric Hélary will add a bit of extra spice, and will be out to challenge the talented young racing drivers. The crowds could not wish for more from the final race of the season.”
Manuel Reuter, start in the Legend Cup: “DTM and a start in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup – this will be a great final weekend in Hockenheim for me. I am really looking forward to the reunion with my old colleagues Frank Biela, Laurent Aïello and Éric Hélary, and obviously to taking them on out on the track. However, the focus will definitely be on having fun – just as it will be in the duels with the younger drivers.”
Frank Biela, starter in the Legend Cup: “After Hockenheim and Oschersleben in 2010, the Norisring in 2011, and Hockenheim last year, this is now my fifth start in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. That shows just how much I still enjoy being in on the act. In 2010 I raced against my daughter Isabelle. Now I will face three other Le Mans winners at the final race in Hockenheim. It will be interesting to see how quick we still are.”
Laurent Aïello, starter in the Legend Cup: “I have particularly fond memories of Hockenheim. After all, it was here that I won the DTM title in 2002. I am really pleased to be able to line up here at the finale of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. On the one hand, I will be reunited on the racetrack with friends like Éric Hélary. On the other hand, I am out to show the talented youngsters that I still have it.”
Éric Hélary, starter in the Legend Cup: “I am happy to be starting in such a great racing series in a Scirocco – especially as Volkswagen has just won the World Rally Championship with my compatriot Sébastien Ogier. I want to win whenever I race, but it will not be easy. The standard is very high in the Scirocco R-Cup. There are quick ladies, quick and talented youngsters, and quick legends. I am particularly looking forward to taking on my best friend Laurent Aïello and my former DTM team-mate Manuel Reuter.”
Kelvin van der Linde, overall leader in the Scirocco R-Cup: “At the last race weekend in Oschersleben, I had half an eye on the battle for the title and so was a little too conservative and did not take enough risks. That will not happen again. I must obviously keep my head, but will push hard. I am still in a good position and am determined to win this title.”
Kasper H. Jensen, second overall in the Scirocco R-Cup: “Hockenheim is a happy stomping ground for me, as I showed at the season-opener. Back then I finished second behind Nicola Larini, but I have my sights set on winning this time. The championship is still up for grabs – I will do everything possible to push hard again. Kelvin is obviously the favourite, given his lead. However, anything is possible in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup: I will have to produce a good race and have a bit of luck on my side.”
Jordan Lee Pepper, third overall in the Scirocco R-Cup: “I only really have a mathematical chance of winning the title. Kelvin is the clear favourite, but Oschersleben showed that it is not over until after the final race. I will be trying to win the season finale and then we’ll see where I end up in the table.”