Racing and fuel efficiency have often been considered at odds with each other, but green racing does exist, somewhat below the radar.
One of the more accessible competitions is the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series, now starting its third season. Like the old SCCA Showroom Stock categories, the TDI Cup competitors are recognizably production models with some racing equipment added on.
2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup racerEnlarge Photo
Now, armchair racers can drive TDI Cup race cars too--or at least facsimiles thereof. The 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition is based on a standard Jetta TDI, plus the race version's entire body kit: aero front bumper, side skirts, and lower rear valance.
The Street Edition also acquires 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires, and both the sport suspension and larger brakes (complete with red-painted calipers) from the Jetta GLI model.
The engine remains standard: It's VW's 140-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel four, mated to either a six-speed manual (which is what all the race versions use, hmmmmm?) or the undeniably high-tech six-speed direct-shift gearbox automatic.
Inside, sports seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel set this Jetta TDI apart from its lesser counterparts. The brushed aluminum door sills? OK, they don't make it go any faster, but we suppose they're a nice touch.
In standard (non-racing) form, the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is EPA rated at 30 mpg city, 41 mpg highway with the six-speed manual.
Many owners, however, say the Jetta TDI gets far higher real-world mileage than those figures would indicate. Even greener than green, perhaps, but that probably doesn't apply during racing. As they say, your mileage may vary.
Starting at $24,900, the 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition is one of a trio of special edition 2010 Volkswagens announced today. The other two are the 2010 CC R-Line and the 2010 New Beetle Red Rock Edition; all three are now available in dealer showrooms.