With the promise of bridging the gap between racing in India and in Europe, Volkswagen Motorsport India (VWMI) launched an upgraded version of its Race Polo that will be used from this year's Polo R Cup.
A switch from diesel to petrol, more power and the adoption of an F1-style paddle operated gearbox instead of a manual gearbox are the main differences from previous seasons.
"It is a atrategic decision for us to shift from diesel to petrol as we want to offer our drivers a more powerful racing machine," said VWMI head Prithviraj Siddappa at the launch of the Race Polo.
The increase in power is a fairly large amount as well with the car's 1.4 litre, 4-cylinder turbo and supercharged engine developing 180 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. The outgoing Race Polo's diesel engine used to produce 130 horsepower at 4,400 rpm.
The 6-speed, sequential gearbox will also boost the performance of the car due to faster gearshifts as compared to the outgoing 6-speed manually operated gearbox. The peak pulling power of the car's engine (torque) is also produced at a higher rpm than last year's car and in a larger rev band, which will lead to an increase in cornering speeds.
The series will feature nine new drivers along with 11 who have previously raced in the series. Out of these, only three have raced in the series since it started in 2010; Alisha Abdullah, Sourav Bandyopadhyay and Siddharth Sharma.
Avdumber Hede is amongst the drivers who made their Polo R Cup debut last year. The 25-year-old from Goa finished third in the points standings last year, with just 29 points separating him from 2011 champion Vishnu Prasad.
SERIES AT A GLANCE
2012 Race Polo specs
Engine: 1.4 litre, 4-cylinder inline turbo + supercharger
Max. power: 180 hp @ 6,200rpm
Torque: 250 Nm @ 2,000 - 4,500rpm
Gearbox: 6 speed automatic sequential, paddle operated.
Fees and prize money
Entry fee (Junior and Pro/Master): Rs. 7 lakh/ Rs 14 lakh
Prize money per race (1st/2nd/3rd): Rs. 50,000/ Rs. 40,000/ Rs. 30,000
Maximum prize money per round: Rs. 1 lakh
Round 1: July 06-08, 2012 .(Coimbatore/KMS)
Round 2: July 27-29, 2012 .(Coimbatore/KMS)
Round 3: Aug 24-26, 2012 (Chennai/MMRT)
Round 4: Sep 14-16, 2012 (Chennai/MMRT)
Round 5 Oct 12-14, 2012 (Chennai/MMRT)
Round 6 Nov 30-Dec 02 (Noida/JPSI)