Volkswagen has used the 2016 CES platform to reveal an evolution of its gesture control functionality which was first shown at last yearâ€™s CES in the form of its Golf R Touch concept.
This time around, however, the German automaker is showing a near production-ready 9.2-inch infotainment system, a first for compact cars.VW says this technology, which is showcased via an â€œe-Golf Touchâ€ concept, will be incorporated in future mass-market models. The configurable modular infotainment system (MIB) has a high-resolution screen and 10 different functions like Music or Phone.
Itâ€™s not often that non-luxury automakers cater to the needs of rear-seat passengers, but Volkswagen introduced a series of features that make road trips better for those in the back.
The first is an â€œelectronic voice amplificationâ€ function to allow for better communication with back-seat passengers. This sounds highly practical when you consider all the times youâ€™ve had to strain to hear the front-seat occupantsâ€™ conversation. It could also mean Volkswagen is admitting to road and wind noise in its vehicle cabins, but letâ€™s give them the benefit of the doubt. The second addition is wireless charging for smartphones in the back seat via the rear armrests. Finally, the e-Golf Touch is equipped with a USB Type-C port for high-speed USB data transfer while charging the phone much faster than standard speeds.
Rounding out the tech. announcements is VWâ€™s â€œPersonalization 2.0,â€ allowing drivers to configure setting to be saved to a user account in the cloud via Volkswagen Car-Net ID. Then, when a driver hops into another VW model, they can download their settings and use them like in their own car.
Worldwide, Volkswagen said 11 million vehicles â€” including almost half a million in the U.S. and an unknown number in Canada â€” have been equipped with a "defeat device" aimed at fooling emissions tests while secretly allowing the cars to belch out far more pollutants than advertised under real-world conditions.
Although the company still doesn't know exactly how many vehicles in Canada are affected, Environment Canada estimates there are about 100,000 Volkswagen diesel engines on the road in Canada, many of which may be included. VW has made a list of all the models and model-years that may be impacted, which includes a searchable VIN database for drivers to see if their cars are known to have the defeat device installed.
Canadian owners of affected 2.0L TDI diesel vehicles were informed by the company recently if they are eligible for a package of credits that includes:
$500 for use at Volkswagen dealerships.
A further $500 for use at their Volkswagen dealership or anywhere credit cards are accepted.
No-charge 24-hour roadside assistance for three years, with unlimited mileage.
Monday is the first day that Volkswagen owners are able to sign up for the program, which had been previously reported on with vague details. But as of Monday, owners are instructed to input their information at a website Volkswagen Canada has set up to handle the problem in Canada, and the company says signing up for the program does not forfeit the owner's right to take part in lawsuits or other forms of compensation.
The move is an olive branch to angry VW drivers with cars they paid a premium to own that are now mired in a dark cloud.
But almost three months after problems with VW engines were first uncovered, the company still has no actual fix for the engines themselves.
Environment Canada is working with U.S. regulators including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board on a potential fix for the engines, but so far neither the regulators nor the company itself have offered any sort of concrete plan or timeline for that.
"At the present time, there is no firm timeline as to when a fix will be in place," VW spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff told CBC News recently. "Our engineers continue to work diligently with regulators to develop an effective solution and, once in place, we will communicate directly with our customers."
Even if a fix comes soon, drivers face another problem down the line in that it is extremely unlikely that the company will come up with a remedy that doesn't ultimately negatively impact engine performance, either in terms of fuel economy or power â€” two factors Volkswagen owners paid a premium for.
And ultimately, while governments can to varying degrees mandate car companies to issue recalls, there's technically no easy legal way for the companies to force drivers to come in and have their cars equipped with new software or technology that would likely make the vehicle perform worse than the drivers were used to on some level.
High-performance estate cars are all the rage these days. Not so long ago, go-faster load-carriers were the preserve of premium brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. In recent years, though, mainstream makers have been getting in on the act and sending their workaday wagons to the gym for a muscular makeover.
The latest addition to the fray is the Golf R Estate, which takes the potent turbo and all-wheel-drive transmission of the hatch and wraps it in a more practical body. Boasting a heady 296bhp and a 605-litre boot, it promises to perfectly blend performance and practicality. However, this tempting combination doesnâ€™t come cheap, starting at Â£33,585. Plus, unlike the hatch version of the R, the Estate is available only with the brandâ€™s six-speed DSG twin-clutch gearbox.
Squaring up to the Golf is a closely related rapid rival: the SEAT Leon ST Cupra. Weâ€™re already big fans of the five-door, which scooped Hot Hatch honours in our 2015 New Car Awards, so an estate should be even more appealing. With the same MQB underpinnings as the Golf, a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo, uprated suspension and a trick diff, the Leon will represent a stern test for the VW. Even more so when you consider its eye-catching Â£29,205 price. So, which of our hard-hitting estate cars is going to carry off the winnerâ€™s trophy in this encounter?
These cars are as much about practicality as performance, and the Golf takes first blood with its larger 605-litre boot. It extends its advantage with the seats folded.
Yet the Leon hits back with its thoughtfully laid-out load bay that features remote release handles and an underfloor area for storing the load cover when itâ€™s not in use.
Trip computers and built-in lap timers show that both models are designed to hit the track.
However, the SEAT goes one stage further with its optional Sub8 pack, which adds bigger brakes, subtle aero tweaks, lighter alloy wheels and super-sticky Michelin tyres.
A six-speed DSG automatic is standard on the Golf R Estate, while the Leon gets a six-speed manual. Cupra buyers can add a twin-clutch set-up for Â£1,355 â€“ and like the unit on the VW, it brings a launch control system for consistently fast starts.
1st. Volkswagen Golf R Estate
Itâ€™s expensive to buy and trails the Leon on kit, but the Golf is one of the ultimate all-rounders. It has huge performance, engaging handling, great all-weather composure and is very practical. Whether youâ€™re commuting to work, on the school run, taking a family holiday, blasting down a slippery back road or attacking a track, the VW has it covered. Strong residuals offset the price premium, too.
2nd. SEAT Leon ST Cupra 280
The Leon misses out on victory by the narrowest margin. On paper, it really appeals. Itâ€™s cheaper to buy, better equipped, nearly as fast and just as practical. It also looks great and rivals the Golfâ€™s premium feel. Yet this test is as much about pace and driving fun as boot space and the bottom line, and the SEAT doesnâ€™t have the VWâ€™s dynamic polish and all-weather security.
Martin Winterkorn appeared in a video to insist he was â€œendless sorryâ€ for the events at the end of a day in which VW was forced to deny a report in Germany that he will leave as chief executive this Friday, to be replaced by Matthias MÃ¼ller, the chairman of its sister company Porsche.
He spoke after the German company revealed the potential financial liabilities for the first time. It is putting aside â‚¬6.5bn (Â£4.7bn) to deal with the potential costs of the crisis, prompting a further 20% fall in its share price.
Live UK calls for probe into VW scandal as Merkel seeks 'transparency' - live updates
German automaker admits 11 million cars affected by emissions scandal, and sets aside â‚¬6.5bn to cover the costs
About â‚¬25bn, or a third, has now been wiped off the value of Volkswagenâ€™s shares in the two days of trading since the scandal erupted. Shares in other car manufacturers have also fallen heavily, with Peugeot down 7%, BMW down 5% and Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, also down 5%. Johnson Matthey, which makes catalytic converters, has fallen nearly 7% in London.
The VW financial update was issued on Tuesday after its US chief said on Monday night that the company had â€œtotally screwed upâ€ over the emissions scandal. Michael Horn admitted at an event in New York that VW had been dishonest with regulators and the public.
The number of cars affected dwarfs the 482,000 VWs and Audis recalled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The figure is also higher than the number of cars VW sells in a year worldwide, reflecting the scale of the crisis.
While tthe VW boss was defiant, there was a separate intervention by Olaf Lies, a member of VWâ€™s supervisory board and also the economy minister for the state of Lower Saxony, which controls 20% of the company. He said there were likely to be management changes as a result of the scandal.
â€œI am sure that there will be personnel consequences in the end, there is no question about it,â€ he told Reuters.
Angela Merkel has also commented on the growing crisis. â€œGiven the difficult situation, this is about showing complete transparency, clearing up the entire case,â€ the German chancellor said in Finland. â€œThe transport minister is in close contact with the company, Volkswagen, and I hope that the facts will be put on the table as quickly as possible.â€
VW could face a fine of up to $18bn (Â£11.6bn), as well as criminal charges for its executives and legal action from customers and shareholders amid claims in the US that it used a device to falsify emissions data. The device recognises when the car is being tested and immediately cuts emissions to a level much lower than normal and which would be unsustainable under normal driving conditions.
In a statement, VW said: â€œDiscrepancies relate to vehicles with type EA 189 engines, involving some 11m vehicles worldwide. A noticeable deviation between bench test results and actual road use was established solely for this type of engine.
â€œVolkswagen is working intensely to eliminate these deviations through technical measures. The company is therefore in contact with the relevant authorities and the German federal motor transport authority.â€
The carmaker insisted in the statement that new diesel vehicles available in the European Union with EU 6 diesel engines â€œcomply with legal requirements and environmental standardsâ€.
It added: â€œThe software in question does not affect handling, consumption or emissions. This gives clarity to customers and dealers.â€
The German company said it was putting aside a provisional â‚¬6.5bn to â€œcover the necessary service measures and other efforts to win back the trust of our customersâ€.
It added: â€œVolkswagen does not tolerate any kind of violation of laws whatsoever. It is and remains the top priority of the board of management to win back lost trust and to avert damage to our customers. The group will inform the public on the further progress of the investigations constantly and transparently.â€
Analysts warned that the crisis could affect other carmakers, with shares down heavily across the sector.
Max Warburton at Bernstein warned it could spell the end for diesel cars. The analyst, who on Sunday called VW the â€œLance Armstrong of automakersâ€, said: â€œDiesel has been under growing pressure in recent years, as regulators recognise that it is still not as clean as gasoline, despite meeting official tests.
â€œThe move against VW is going to act as a catalyst to speed up the fall in diesel market share in Europe and halt it in the US. In fact, regulators will now be much more conservative about what they permit and much tougher real world tests may prove either too difficult â€“ or too expensive â€“ for diesel to meet.â€
In further developments, Britain and France called for a Europe-wide investigation into diesel cars to reassure the public.
Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said: â€œWe are closely monitoring the situation and have been pushing for action at a European level for more accurate tests that reflect driving on the road. Itâ€™s vital that the public has confidence in vehicle emissions tests and I am calling for the European commission to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency.â€
A spokesman for the commission said it was â€œprematureâ€ to comment on whether there would be a European investigation into VW.
South Korea said on Tuesday it would investigate emissions of the VW Jetta and Golf models plus Audi A3 cars produced in 2014 and 2015. If problems are found, South Koreaâ€™s environment ministry said its inquiry could be expanded to all German diesel imports, which have surged in popularity in recent years in a market long dominated by local producers such as Hyundai.
The US Department of Justice could also conduct a criminal investigation into Volkswagen.
The UK campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) warned that millions of cars could be recalled. T&Eâ€™s diesel expert, Jos Dings, said: â€œOur latest report demonstrated that almost 90% of diesel vehicles didnâ€™t meet emission limits when they drive on the road. We are talking millions of vehicles.â€
It's been a big news week for Volkswagen, big birthdays don't come along every day, and certainly none bigger than the 40th birthday of the original hot hatch, the Golf GTI.
We've known for a long time that the anniversary was to be marked with a special anniversary edition, which we've known also for a long time to be the Clubsport.
So, now the specifications are out, and the headline figures certainly meet all expectations!
265 PS power output
Peak power over 290 PS on overboost
0-62mph in 5.9 seconds (6.0s in the manual)
Improved aero package
Front wheel drive with the familiar e-diff
Deep bucket seats and an Alcantara steering wheel
It really looks the part, and in the featured Oryx White, it is I think the best looking Golf you can currently buy.
But whilst drooling over that steering wheel, and those seats, I'm also left disappointed. Volkswagen had the opportunity to make the Clubsport a limited run track special - the spy shots of the red car on the NÃ¼rburgring featured a roll cage, where has that gone?
I know it'd be rare for a manufacturer to go down this route, but deep down I was hoping for a rear seat delete option, weight savings, half cage, 3-door only, and 17" wheels with track focused tyres. I was hoping VW would do similar to what MINI did with the GP, and that's why I'm disappointed.
But VW are very clever, they didn't become the second-largest car manufacturer in the world by luck. MINI struggled to sell all of the GP2's they produced, and that was a limited run of 2000 cars.
The new Golf GTI Clubsport isn't a track focused car, it has mass market appeal. It's not on a limited production run either, so they'll be on the lease channels before long. It looks good, will sell like proverbial hot cakes and I'm sure it will drive superbly - speaking of which, I might be disappointed, but I'd still like a go in one.
So what does everyone else think? Is the Clubsport special enough to tempt you away from an R?
What goes through the mind of a 16 year old as they approach Eau Rouge at over 100mph for the first time? Damani Marcano, our resident 16 year old racing driver, finds out.
Driving the Legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps was an absolutely amazing experience. I donâ€™t know if I can even put into words how I felt just thinking about it. Driving it was something else! Located in Belgium, it is the home of the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix. And I got to drive the full GP circuit! Itâ€™s not the first F1 circuit Iâ€™ve driven, Silverstone was the first, but the fact that it was my first ever international track made this special.
The weather was the best I have ever experienced during a race weekend. The track had so much grip. Driving the car with that much grip gave me more confidence in the car than I have ever had. One of the reasons why driving Spa is so awesome is because you remember that your favourite F1 drivers of all time have been driving around the same track as you.
I feel very lucky to have made it to Spa at all because, for a while, it was looking like I wasnâ€™t going to make it. If you have read about the reliability issues from the start of the season, youâ€™ll know that I didnâ€™t complete several races. Because this is my first year in cars this meant I didnâ€™t have enough race experience to upgrade my racing license. To race at Spa I needed a National â€˜Aâ€™ MSA license. This meant I needed an extra race weekend in the VAG Trophy to get the license upgrade.
My racing budget didnâ€™t cover that. If I raced in the VAG Trophy thereâ€™d be no money to race at Spa. If I didnâ€™t race in the VAG Trophy then my license would mean I couldnâ€™t race at Spa.
Somehow I had to do it. Local newspapers heard about my situation and immediately published a story. I thought that there would be a company somewhere that would step in. I visited local companies with my brochure. Showed them all my local and national press and media coverage. I even contacted larger companies based in the area. There were several that wanted to help but felt they couldnâ€™t spare the cash. I was really down and confused at the end of this. I thought it was all over.
Then, my existing sponsors, The CleverBaggers came through with some extra funding, Team HARD gave us extra support so that it was nearly enough to get me on track and RiverGlide covered the difference. It was going to be tight but it was enough. I was going to Spa! I canâ€™t thank them all enough!
Driving through Eau Rouge for the first time was spectacular. This corner is possibly the most legendary corner of any track, anywhere in the world and to know that I've driven it, especially at such a young age, is just crazy. It is something that I thought I would experience much later in my racing career but to think that at only 16 Iâ€™ve actually done the same thing as many legends in motorsport is astonishing. I still canâ€™t get used to it!
It is such a fast complex of corners through Eau Rouge, itâ€™s hard to go into it without feeling like you should touch the brake just before you start the first left. Thanks to my experience on the simulator at Pro-Sim I felt like I knew the track inside out. The fact that they now have tuned a physics model of my car made me feel like I knew exactly what to expect. It meant that I was able to go into Eau Rouge for the first time fully committed, without touching the brake, just a slight lift of the throttle and the car was able to go into the corner almost at its full potential straight away.
Thatâ€™s when I realised how different it was doing this for real! I don't think anyone can understand how amazing it is until you drive it in real life. On a simulator or video game it seems like a simple corner, but it's so much more than that.
The car grips so much as the track begins to go up hill. This means that massive amounts of speed can be carried through the corner. The car compresses down and the rate the hill climbs means you are almost looking into the sky. On my first run through, the car broke traction. I corrected as it slid sideways a little bit too much onto the exit kerb. I lost a little speed there but none of the thrill. Lap after lap I played with carrying more and more speed. There is nothing like it!
Spa is definitely the most exciting track I have ever driven in anything and I can't imagine another corner giving me the same amazing feeling as Eau Rouge.
Want to drive a car like Damani's? Check out Damani's racing experience track day where you find out for yourself how it feels to take a current Volkswagen Racing Cup car around Brands Hatch!
You can follow Damaniâ€™s journey here on VWROC via his regular monthly column. Day to day, keep up to date via Twitter (@DKMRacing), Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. To help keep Damani on the grid, you can back him via his crowd funding campaign and via his Patreon page.
It appears to us that Volkswagen is gearing up for a rather large party... as many will know, 2016 will be the 40th anniversary of the Golf GTI, and with any big birthday, there's no harm in starting the party a little bit early.
The 40th birthday of the GTI is being marked with the very special GTI Clubsport, a 287bhp (on overboost) version of the Golf, with reduced weight, improved aero, a manual gearbox, chassis tweaks and a roll cage.
Dale Lomas who runs the website 'Bridge to Gantry' has spied the GTI Clubsport being tested at the 'ring in what looks to everyone like full production spec, even down to the side decals, and it looks fantastic.
You can view Dales photos on his website by clicking here.
Now, with a car in full production spec, it's surely going to be unveiled at a motor show in the not too distant future. Conveniently, Volkswagens home show Frankfurt crops up in September, just over two months away.
But could we be in for a double party?
Volkswagen has been very keen to get the R400 Concept seen by as many people as possible, with recent appearances in the UK at Goodwood and GTI International, and it has also been testing an R-based mule the NÃ¼rburgring. So, VW has two months to finalise the bumpers and get it on the stand at Frankfurt - certainly possible.
Rumour within the industry says that we will see both cars there, with Clubsport deliveries starting at the end of the year, and R400 deliveries starting in late Spring 2016.
So, a double launch party... one hell of a way to kick start the Golf GTIs 40th year!
Imagine having a job where you could let your inner child run free, creating cars that not only look to the future, but also showcase the very latest in technology. Well thatâ€™s the job of Christoph Bronder, Head of Technical Development at Volkswagen, and the man responsible for all of Volkswagens Concept Cars worldwide, including the much discussed R400.
The car itself looks impressiveâ€¦ it rides low on its widened track, the greeny yellow flashes against the deep metallic silver paint (â€˜borrowedâ€™ from Porsche) signifying something out of the ordinary, something that treads into uncharted territory for VW. The carbon fibre sill extensions, the rear diffuser and spoiler all give the Golf R400 a purposeful look. People say the standard R is very reserved in its styling; the same cannot be said for the R400 Concept.
But, this isnâ€™t just a concept car; Christoph tells us this is a fully functioning car thatâ€™s ready to go. Ready to hit the streetsâ€¦
â€¦and hit the streets it will. Yes folks, after a year of debate, we can confirm that the R400 is destined for production, and thatâ€™s exactly what it will be, an R400, not an R420. Christoph confirmed to us the upgraded engine will be good for 420PS, but that version will be reserved for an Audi project â€“ over to Revo then for that extra 20PS! There's currently a raft of engines currently being bench tested to ensure they're suitable for all driving conditions.
Many of the features found on the R400 concept will carry over to production, including that widened track. The carbon fibre, which is all real carbon on the R400 concept wonâ€™t, it would simply make the production car too expensive. That greeny yellow colour will feature too â€“ Christoph explained to us how difficult colour selection is within VW â€“ Red is for GTI, Blue is for R, Green is seen as an â€˜Ecoâ€™ colour, while Orange is associated with electrical components and hazards, so this new colour will designate all top performance models going forward.
So what else did we learn? Well, just like the regular R, the R400 will be available with 3-door and 5-door variants and manual and 7-Speed DSG gearbox options, and of course Haldex four wheel drive to cope with the 400PS power output (thatâ€™s 394bhp, or 294kW).
Christoph also mentioned an exhaust which can be manually controlled via a steering wheel button, enabling the driver to select a quieter note for cruising, and a racier rasp when you want it.
We were absolutely delighted at this point in our interview, the speculation was finally over, and we had some great exclusive interview. Christoph wasnâ€™t finished though. Heâ€™s a man who is clearly proud of his creation, and he wanted to show it off. Cue him handing us a rather inauspicious looking key with Velcro attachedâ€¦ yes, we got to fire up the R400.
This car is fitted with keyless entry, so a prod of the starter button sees the 400PS motor fire into life â€“ there is a bark from the exhaust which soon settles down to a deep baritone burble. Thereâ€™s a rasp to the exhaust note as it revs, and a crackle on lift off â€“ itâ€™s one of the best sounding exhausts on a 4-cylinder car Iâ€™ve ever heard.
But donâ€™t just take our word for it, have a listen to the video belowâ€¦ then head straight down to your VW dealer and beg them to take your deposit, youâ€™ll want one.
The R400 is coming, are you ready for it? Over to youâ€¦
Deep down, the only thing that racing drivers really want to do is race. They want to be wheel to wheel with other drivers, they want to be trying to improve their lap times and they want to be on track. But the truth of the matter is that the time spent actually racing during a race weekend is extremely limited. Most of the weekend is spent entertaining sponsors, doing PR, marketing to attract new sponsors and generally interacting with other people.
Picking up the pace
The most recent round of the Volkswagen Racing Cup was at Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix. This was my busiest weekend by far even though I had more time between each race than in previous rounds. On the Saturday the only time I was on track was for qualifying at 5pm. You would think that means I would be able to get some extra sleep and arrive at the track in the afternoon...
Nope! Having stayed up late on Friday night going through the video footage from Friday practice, I was up early on Saturday. First stop was Whilton Mill kart circuit to promote the Team HARD Award in the LGM kart series, a national kart championship. Luckily, while I was there I got to also catch-up with and watch my old MLC Motorsport team-mates race.
After, that I had to get back to Silverstone by mid morning to meet with Chris McCarthy from Karting magazine. Next, I had a photo shoot to get some of the photos needed for an article in Performance VW Magazine. The next thing I knew, TV cameras showed up to interview me for the Channel 4 and Motors TV coverage.
Networking never stops
Next stop, a visit to the McLaren garage. My racing-simulator instructor, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs from Pro-sim, was standing in for another driver in the British GT. Normally he races in an international series but was hired to cover another driver for the weekend. I took the opportunity to visit him in the British GT garages and to check out the McLaren 650S GT3.
After only a short time there I had to rush to a meeting with Volkswagen Racing. They were very pleased with the amount of publicity and exposure I was adding to the series and took a lot of time to give me advice on how to get the next signature I needed to upgrade my racing license in time to race at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.
Finally on track
Straight after that it was back to Team HARD to run through on-board camera footage and my notes to remind myself of how I needed to improve for qualifying. Finally I was out on track! This is where I wanted to be! I really enjoyed this session. This was my first time driving the track in the dry, my third ever race weekend in a car and was my best qualifying so far of 17th out of 28 adult, licensed drivers!
We had a round up of the day with the team then headed back to the hotel. I felt eager to get back on track. My only time on track all day was during qualifying which was also my first chance to drive Silverstone in the dry! I had two races ahead of me on Sunday, one of them looked like it was going to be a dry race. I really couldnâ€™t wait to put what I learned from Friday and Saturday into practice so spent the evening going through everything I could to be ready for the next day.
Sunday was pretty crazy. I had a race in the morning at around 10am then my next race wasnâ€™t until nearly 5:30pm. I got to the track by 8am. Why so early? I had to drive the car to the assembly area ready for the first race at 9:30. Before that, I had to greet Viv & Darren of The Clever Baggers, my latest sponsor. We spent some time talking about ideas for new products for their company and some people I wanted to introduce them to at the track that day. The next thing I knew, my dad was giving me the signal that it was time to go.
I was on track again! This time it was wet. I was keen to safely get through the race so I could get one more race-finish closer to upgrading my racing license from a National â€˜Bâ€™ to a National â€˜Aâ€™. I absolutely needed this otherwise I would not be able to race at Spa Francorchamps next month. I played it too safe on the start and dropped back, still I managed to then make some nice overtakes to recover a few places before the finish! That was another signature on my license upgrade card!
Back from my first race, we had a debrief. We ran through the on-board camera footage and spoke with The Clever Baggers again. After talking to Viv and Darren I spoke to a couple of other people who had stopped by to watch the races and support me such as Jonno Davis who was my mechanic at one point in karting, Chris Turner and Nick Abbott winners of the Twitter competition I ran with BeeLiked.com and finally Alan Dove and Usmaan Mughal from The Driverâ€™s Collective.
Getting down to business
Once some more meet-and-greets were out of the way I took Viv of The Clever Baggers to meet with directors of Volkswagen Racing and Racing Line to talk about how their products could be good for each other. I just thought it would be great if The Clever Baggers made a connection like this on their first weekend sponsoring me. I sat in on the meeting and tried to chip in where I could. Viv said he was impressed with how I helped keep things focused during the meeting.
Rubbin' is racing
Suddenly it was time for race two! Now the track was dry. I really wanted to enjoy this one but I still had to take it easy to make sure I finished the race. I needed this one to have a chance at upgrading my license to a National â€˜Aâ€™ in time for Spa. This was my first time in a proper battle where I was swapping places and paint with other drivers.
On the final lap, one driver I'd been battling with all race left a gap and I went for it. He closed the gap and we went through the corner door to door. My wing mirror was folded in and he didn't give an inch... As we came out the other side of the corner, I was in the lead! When we got back I found the yellow from his car all over my 18" rims and we both had a laugh talking about our battles in the whole race! I felt totally confident doing this without being a risk to my race finish. This is the kind of racing I love. Close but with total respect for each other. I have to say, it was one of the best races I've had in anything ever.
All part of the job
Even though it is called a "race weekend", the part of the day that I spent rubbing shoulders on the track was a lot less than the time I spent rubbing shoulders off the track. But, as hectic as everything was between the races, it all was also fun. I will have to admit that there were certain points where I felt under pressure, mainly when I was in the middle of something. It might have been a meeting or a supporter might have stopped to talk to me. I found myself in really interesting conversations and found it very difficult to just walk away. Even though I wanted to stick around and talk, I wanted to race even more.
This was my first taste of what the future might involve. Some drivers donâ€™t like all of the things they have to do between each race. I enjoy it. I really like the media side and I hope to do more of that one day. The best part was ending on such a fun race. This was the perfect way to round off a great weekend!
Damani's next races are on the 10th - 11th July at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. To help keep Damani racing, you can support him via his Patreon page, via his GoFundMe campaign or by following him on Twitter (@DKMRacing),Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Announced in a press release today, Volkswagen has confirmed that the Golf R 400 Concept will be on show at this months Goodwood Festival of Speed.
We quote... "Based on the standard Golf R hatchback, the R 400 concept ups the ante considerably, with 400PS and 450 Nm of torque - plus looks to match the performance."
This is great news for R enthusiasts as it shows Volkswagens further commitment to developing the model, and gaining increased public awareness in what will be the fastest production Golf to ever roll out of Wolfsburg.