VW Scirocco R Cup CNG

We travel to Germany to try out VW's eco-racer, a modified Scirocco R that runs exclusively on compressed natural gas.

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You might not be able to buy one for the road, but the Scirocco R Cup is a concept that proves high performance and eco-friendly fuel can go hand-in-hand. Clever systems such as the push-to-pass button make the racing exciting – and if you want to take a closer look, the Scirocco R Cup visits Brands Hatch, Kent, on 3-4 September.

If BlueMotion’s not exciting enough for you, the Scirocco R Cup could be the green Volkswagen to get you fired up! Created for the firm’s latest one-make racing championship, the R Cup is based on the road-going Scirocco R, but is powered by compressed natural gas.

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The racer’s bio-CNG is refined from organic waste, which means that, including transportation and logistics, the CO2 produced by the 24 cars over a 10-race series is 80 per cent lower than it would be with petrol power.

Visually, the only clue to the Cup’s unique fuel is the large 22kg CNG tank sat in the centre of the car. Under the bonnet is the same 2.0-litre TSI engine found in the standard Scirocco R, while power is delivered to the road via the established DSG twin-clutch transmission.

The standard dashboard remains unaltered and, uniquely for a racer, you even get a driver’s airbag. The safety roll cage and motorsport seat ensure the driver is properly protected, while the small display behind the wheel provides shift lights and lap-time information.

Once on the move, the Cup feels similar to the R road car – although the far stiffer suspension prevents body roll, and slick tyres increase grip. To keep things simple, only the tyre pressures and anti-roll bars can be adjusted.

With little cabin insulation and a throaty exhaust, the R Cup sounds more exciting than the showroom car but, with 222bhp, the racer actually has 39bhp less power. However, a push-to-pass button – which can be pressed between 10 and 15 times, depending on the circuit – delivers a short-term 49bhp boost to help overtaking, so it feels faster.

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