Enthusiatic crowd: A good turnout for the Volkswagen Polo Cup races in Pune recently.
The Volkswagen Polo Cup, run as part of the JK Tyre National racing championship, has generated great interest among motor sport enthusiasts in the City. And, Volkswagen is pretty pleased with its effort and the crowd.
“Having seen races in Germany, I must admit it is little different in India,” said Prithviraj Siddappa, Head of Motor Sport, Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd which is organising the Polo Cup races in the country.
“But when it comes to the spectators here, the emotion and excitement levels are high. So, the weekend races are not only going to be challenging for the drivers but exciting for the crowd as well.”
After the opener in Pune, Coimbatore is the second stop in the Polo Cup circuit in India. Volkswagen has used the event, which features 20 of the country's fastest and most promising drivers, to virtually test the waters, to get a hang of the country and its motor sport pulse. “We want to see how people respond to our call and relate to motor sports.” said Mr. Prithviraj.
The response in Pune was amazing, he said. “We received about 1,800 registrations for what is the first single-make car manufacturer-backed series in India. After a strict selection process, we picked 20 aspiring drivers for the starting grid for the big event.”
Is the pick a quality one? “With the selection process strict and transparent you naturally have a quality crowd. It's a mixed crowd – from professionals to semi-experienced to novice drivers,” he said.
Where do the drivers go from here? “Our journey is long. We first want to mould each one of them into a champion driver. And once we figure out the best among the champions, our next business is to field them in either a European or an American championship,” said Mr. Prithviraj.
“He will represent not just Volkswagen but the country as well. We also have a Ronny Wechselberger from Germany and Rayomand Banajee from India as driver coaches to shape their chances during the course of the year,” he added. Mr. Prithviraj said the drivers all have an equal advantage.
“Each one of them will have the same fast car. It is skills that matter. These cars will be equipped with advanced data loggers, which will help analyse and provide them with the chance to check their own performances and also compare them with those of other drivers.”
He said the race in Pune was very positive. “Over 7000 people thronged the street circuit at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi. And, there were thousands more waiting outside to catch some rare action. It was more of a family affair.”
Mr. Prithviraj wants to transfer this positive energy to the Coimbatore event. “We are new to this part of the region. We want to weigh the pros and cons but let me assure you we have done our job well.”