Let's Just Turn All The Diesel Volkswagens Into Race Cars

GIF via the “Racing Under Green” television show promo. Yes, that was a thing.

Volkswagen is about to have a lot of its diesel cars sitting around after the massive buyback, and naturally, one wonders what to do with them. I have an answer, and it’s the same answer I have to most things: just take them racing.


Remember the TDI Cup, Volkswagen’s SCCA-sanctioned marketing ploy-slash-racing series from the late 2000s and early 2010s that tried to show that simple diesel Jettas could be fun to drive? It’s time for that to make a comeback, of sorts, since potentially hundreds of thousands of diesel Volkswagens are about to sit around with nothing to do.

Reader LongbowMkII was the first to suggest the idea after the news broke that Volkswagen was facing a $15 billion Dieselgate settlement:

Now that we know that the options for owners are to either have Volkswagen fix the affected cars or to let Volkswagen buy the cars back, I’d imagine Volkswagen will end up with a ton of extra cars they don’t know what to do with. Perhaps a few owners will hold on to their now über-rare Audi A3 TDI to sell at Barrett-Jackson in 2075 to some overly nostalgic old weirdo whose judgment has been negated by senility for nine times what it’s really worth. And maybe a lot of people who love the power and fuel economy will just keep them, or not bother to get them fixed.

But for the most part, I’d imagine many owners just want to be rid of the toxic diesels at this point.


The best option, then, would be to do a quick emissions fix (so as not to re-attract the EPA’s meddling eyes) and then offer the Dieselgate cars at a fire sale to get a little dinero back—with a professionally installed rollcage.

Illustration for article titled Let's Just Turn All The Diesel Volkswagens Into Race Cars

Nasty Earth-destroying pollution aside, those TDI cars are a lot of fun to drive and can be made to handle pretty well on a road course. Sure, my friend’s Jetta TDI Cup Edition road car was neck-and-neck with my Mitsubishi Lancer GTS when it came to the slowest cars at our track day, but speed doesn’t matter. Fun does.

If there’s one thing I know about racing enthusiasts, it’s that if it has four wheels and a few people can sell enough kidney meat to afford it, it will be raced.


The new TDI Cup wouldn’t look exactly the same, as multiple models of diesels from Volkswagen and Audi are included in the American buyback.

Never fear, though. The Brits converted a Caddy TDI van to run in their TDI-powered Volkswagen Racing Cup, so the new, post-Volkspocalypse series could be a multi-class affair of sorts.


Sending all those Dieselgate cars to the crusher—even if they aren’t worth much now—seems like a waste. Volkswagen should get creative with how they’re fixed, resold or repurposed, and racing them would take them off the streets and put some decent chassis in the hands of a group who’d enjoy them.

I dare you to come up with a better idea.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.



Additional Rule. No repairs! Sure, tires and brakes, but nothing major.

We race this series to the last car... no matter how long it takes.