Scirocco R-Cup opener Under starters orders in Hockenheim

Thrilling action and royal glamour at Scirocco R-Cup opener

The stage is set for the start of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup: the fifth season of the environmentally-sound one-make cup kicks off on 03 and 04 May and promises bags of excitement, coupled with a dose of royal flair. The traditional season-opener in Hockenheim sees guest starter Pierre Casiraghi (MC), a member of Monaco’s royal family, go head to head with 23 talented drivers. Unlike last year, tens of thousands of spectators will be treated to two helpings of Scirocco R-Cup excitement on the support programme for the DTM, as the Hockenheimring hosts two races with the 285-hp, natural-gas powered Cup-Scirocco. It is the start of a new season consisting of ten races over the course of six race weekends, at the end of which the successor to last year’s champion Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) will be crowned.

All you need to know about the opening race weekend in Hockenheim

+++ Pierre Casiraghi (26) makes his debut behind the wheel of a real racing car in the Scirocco R-Cup in Hockenheim. The son of Princess Caroline of Hannover, heir to the throne of Monaco, will add some royal splendour to Volkswagen’s one-make cup, which is popular with stars from every sphere. The number four in line to the Monaco throne has previously only ever driven in the vintage rally in Monte Carlo. Casiraghi prepared for his guest appearance in the opening two races of the season by completing tests in the Cup-Scirocco in Oschersleben. +++

+++ The idea of inviting the blue-blooded guest starter came from racing legend Jacky Ickx (59), who has known Casiraghi since his childhood. Volkswagen ambassador Ickx is widely regarded as the most successful all-round racing driver in the motorsport world. The Belgian won eight Formula One Grands Prix, finishing runner-up in the World Championship in 1969 and 1970. Ickx climbed onto the very top step of the podium at the legendary Le Mas 24 Hours and the Paris–Dakar Rally. His daughter Vanina lined up in the DTM in 2006 and 2007. Jacky Ickx will be a guest in Hockenheim, where he will be on hand to offer Pierre Casiraghi advice and support. +++

+++ Touring car legend Manuel Reuter (52) won the Legends competition at the final round of last year’s Scirocco R-Cup in Hockenheim. This year, as mentor to the young drivers, he is very much a part of the Volkswagen team in the one-make cup. Reuter contested over 200 races in the DTM over a period of 15 years, winning many and claiming the title in 1996. Other highlights of his motorsport career included victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1989 and 1996, as well as success at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2003. Up until 2013, Reuter was a highly-regarded co-commentator on ARD’s DTM coverage. Away from the racetrack, the father of one is a genuine “Ironman”: his favourite hobby is triathlon. As such, he is also well-qualified to give the talented youngsters in the Scirocco R-Cup a few tips when it comes to fitness. +++

+++ This year’s Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup will feature 19 regular drivers from eight different countries. Favourite to win the title is South African Jordan Lee Pepper (17), who was still in contention for the title right down to the final race last season, ultimately ending the year third overall. Five of last year’s top ten will be in action again this time round: Pepper will be joined by Denmark’s Nicolaj Møller Madsen (21), German hope Manuel Fahnauer (19), and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (21) and Victor Bouveng (18) from Sweden. As well as the many talented young drivers, this season also features an old hand: Michael Müller is 52 years old and owns several Volkswagen dealerships. +++

+++ Girl power will be a prominent feature of this year’s Scirocco R-Cup. In Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (21), who finished runner-up at the Nürburgring last year, Switzerland’s Jasmin Preisig (21), Lucile Cypriano from France (17) and German Doreen Seidel (28), four flying ladies will take on their male counterparts. Lucile Cypriano earned her ticket via a talent competition run by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. The attractive Doreen Seidel’s talent has not been restricted to motorsport in recent years: she was also Playmate of the Year in 2008. +++

+++ The regulations have been the subject of some modifications ahead of this season. The Legends competition no longer exists in its previous form. Instead, guest starters like Pierre Casiraghi will put pedal to the metal. The starting order for the second race of a race weekend will no longer be the reverse order of the result of the opening race, but will be determined by each driver’s second-best time from qualifying. Points will be awarded in the following format: 50-42-38-34-32-30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2. The points are halved in the first three races of the season, in order to reduce the advantage the more experienced drivers have over any newcomers. +++

+++ Like last season, the drivers still have the option of using the Push-to-pass system, which momentarily increases the performance of the Scirocco by 50 hp to 210 kW (285 hp). Push-to-pass may only be used six times in free practice. No Push-to-pass is permitted during qualifying. The following rule generally applies to the race: row 1–3 of the grid: 15 Push-to-pass uses; rows 4–6: 15 + 1 Push-to-pass uses; rows 7–9: 15 + 2 Push-to-pass uses; rows 10–12: 15 + 3 Push-to-pass uses; rows 13–16: 15 + 4 Push-to-pass uses; rows 17–19: 15 + 5 Push-to-pass uses. +++

+++ Gazprom has been the fuel supplier to the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup since 2013. The world’s largest producer of natural gas supplies the natural gas for the environmentally sound engine in the sports coupé. As a result, CO2 emissions are about 25 per cent lower than with conventional petrol or diesel engines. +++

+++ Two trainees from the Volkswagen group will join the service team for the 2014 Scirocco R-Cup at the season-opener. Budding motor mechanics Rick Weselmann (MAN Truck & Bus) and Fabian Köhns (Volkswagen commercial vehicles) qualified to work on Volkswagen’s environmentally-sound one-make cup as winners of the “ProMechaniker” competition. The duo emerged triumphant from the final in Oschersleben, to which the Volkswagen Group Academy and Volkswagen Motorsport had invited eleven finalists from five corporate brands. +++

+++ The predecessor to today’s Hockenheimring was built in 1932. The circuit consisted of 12 kilometres of gravel forest tracks and was initially used as a motorcycle circuit. Up until 1935 the track was not surfaced and had to be watered between races to reduce the amount of dust generated. +++

+++ The Scirocco R-Cup hits its top speed at the Hockenheimring in the Parabolika. Here, the drivers accelerate in sixth gear to a speed of up to 200 km/h. The circuit is 4.574 kilometres long and features 17 corners in total. +++

+++ The most successful driver in the Scirocco R-Cup at the Hockenheimring is Sweden’s Ola Nilsson. He won one race in the series’ debut season in 2010, and claimed a brace of victories in 2012. Former Formula One driver Nicola Larini (I) triumphed in last year’s season-opener in Hockenheim. The season finale at the same venue was won by Kelvin van der Linde (17), whose victory also earned him the title. The talented South African lines up in the ADAC GT Masters this year. +++

Quotes ahead of the first race weekend in Hockenheim

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director: “I am looking forward to the opening race of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup in Hockenheim. As in previous years, we want to prove emphatically that environmentally-sound motorsport can go hand in hand with top-drawer racing action. I expect an exciting title race this season, with the experienced drivers taking on some very quick debutants. And I am certain the four ladies in the field will also be determined to play a major role.”

Pierre Casiraghi, guest starter: “It has always been a dream of mine to drive in a real race. It is what every young boy dreams of. Jacky Ickx recommended I should give it a go in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. I am still a very inexperienced driver, and this is my first time in a real racing car. I just want to have fun in Hockenheim, and avoid causing any crashes or driving into anyone. Unfortunately I fear I am probably too old to become a professional racing driver. You have to start at a very young age to achieve that. However, it is definitely a great hobby. I thoroughly enjoy it.”

Manuel Reuter, DTM legend: “The Scirocco R-Cup has been on the same bill as the DTM for many years and, as I worked as an expert for ARD for a long time, I have obviously been able to follow it at close hand. Volkswagen asked me several times whether I would like to drive in the Legends class, and that finally came about at the finale in Hockenheim last year. I was thrilled from the word go: the races are exciting and evenly matched, because everyone is driving with the same material, so it all comes down to the driver. After that, we sat down and talked things through – and I will now be responsible for the juniors all season as their mentor, with the aim of passing on as much of my experience as possible to help them in their future careers. Unfortunately the promotion of young drivers has been neglected for a long time in touring car racing. The Scirocco R-Cup offers talented youngsters a great opportunity to break into professional motorsport.”

Nicolaj Møller Madsen, starter in the Scirocco R-Cup: “I had enough fourth and fifth places last year. This time I want to make it straight onto the podium in Hockenheim. I learned a lot last season, and have also paid last year’s champion Kelvin van der Linde a visit in South Africa to pick up a few extra tips. My goal this year is definitely to win both championships in the Scirocco R-Cup: the Junior class and the overall competition.”

Moritz Oberheim, starter in the Scirocco R-Cup: “My goal is actually to win the whole thing. But I am well aware that this will not be easy – especially given the drivers who were already involved last year and know what it is all about. However, my test times show that I have what it takes to mix it with the front-runners. I will definitely take my opportunities!”

Lucile Cypriano, starter in the Scirocco R-Cup: “I would like to thank Volkswagen and the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission for allowing me to line up in the Scirocco R-Cup. This is a superb competition, which offers the perfect opportunity to kick start a career. I am grateful to be able to start on the support programme for the DTM. After all, my dream is to race in that series. My main goal for the opening Scirocco race in Hockenheim is to learn as much as possible. After all, it is a new car and a new team. Secretly, however, I am aiming for a place in the top ten.”

Schedule for the first race weekend in Hockenheim

Friday, 02 May 201416:15–17:00 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, free practice (45 minutes)Saturday, 03. Mai 201409:10–09:40 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, qualifying (30 minutes)14:45–15:15 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, race one (11 laps)Sunday, 04 May 201416:25–16:55 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, race two (11 laps)

The races on TVSport1 will broadcast race one from 21:30 to 22:00 on Saturday.The races in live streamFans can also follow the races in live stream at www.volkswagen-motorsport.com, with commentary available in English and German.