Bangalore, May 17 (IANS) Volkswagen Motorsport has shifted gears by moving from diesel to petrol engine and introducing a more powerful car for its 2012 Polo R Cup championship.
The 20 drivers shortlisted for this year's series beginning in July will be driving a 1.4 litre, four-cylinder Polo that will produce 180 bhp instead of the 1.6 litre diesel variant that was run over the previous two seasons.
More significantly, the manual gearbox has made way for an upgraded Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) that will lend another dimension to racing.
According to a press release Thursday, the 20 drivers have been divided into three categories - Junior, Pro and Master - on the basis of age and racing experience.
Drivers aged between 16 to 26 years and with experience limited to eight races or less in the last five years in a National Championship will be part of Junior Category.
Drivers (16 to 26 years) with experience of more than eight races will be a part of the Pro Category. The Master category will comprise of drivers who are 26 years or above at the time of registration.
The Prize money for the race winners are Rs.50,000, Rs.40,000 and Rs.30,000 for first, second and third positions, respectively.
Fee for Junior and Pro categories is Rs.7 lakh while Master category participants' fee is Rs.14 lakh for the entire season. Each driver has an option to refinance the fee by using their Race Polo bonnet to display their respective sponsorship branding, the release added.
The first race will be flagged-off July 7 at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore while the subsequent rounds will be run at MMRT, Chennai before the final race at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida.
"We are delighted to present the new TSI Race Polo 2012 along with the 20 promising drivers today. Volkswagen is committed to developing motorsport in India along with the young talent through our Polo R Cup programme.
"We had an excellent season last year and we are looking forward to the upcoming season", Dr. John Chacko, Volkswagen Group Chief Representative India, President and Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited, said.
"It is a strategic decision for us to shift from diesel to petrol as we want to offer our drivers a more powerful racing machine. Polo R Cup program has set benchmarks in Indian motorsports by being focussed on professionalism, technology and safety," said Prithviraj Siddappa, Head, of Motorsport, Volkswagen India.
The drivers are:
Junior category: Arpit Dev (Pune), Tabish Khan (Delhi), Yatin Magu (Delhi), Hanoosh S (Hyderabad) and Sidharth Sharma.
Pro: Alisha Abdullah (Chennai), Sourav Bandyopadhyay (Mumbai), Mihir Dharkar (Mumbai), Deigo Duez (Mexico), Anthony George (Kothamangalam), Avdumber Hede (Goa), Ajay Kini (Bangalore), A Sandeep Kumar (Chennai), Angad Singh Matharoo (Chandigarh), Rahil Noorani (Mumbai), Munjal Savla (Mumbai), Prashanth Tharani Singh (Chennai), Niranjan Todkari (Aurangabad) and Donovan Vaz (Goa).
Master: Ameya Walavalkar (Mumbai).