Blast recently interviewed Clark Campbell, the Motorsport Manager of Volkswagen of America about the Jetta TDI Cup, which is making stops in Boston later this summer and in the fall.

We also asked him about a local racer, Theresa Condict, of Lexington, who’s taking part in the series.

BLAST: So what brings VW to Boston? When are the events in the Boston area?

CLARK CAMPBELL: We’re partnering with Boston’s F1 Outdoors to host a karting qualifier competition that will serve as a method of entry to the series for 2010. There will be six events: Aug. 3 & 17; Sept. 21 and another September date TBD; and October 12 and another October date TBD. The standouts from this competition will qualify for our 2010 driver selection event, and one competitor from the karting events will even have his or her ride funded for 2010, which is a value of $45,000.

BLAST: Why Boston?

CC: The F1 Outdoor facility is one of the best karting locations anywhere, and their leaders have been very supportive of our program. They want to help us grow and also have a place to have their talented drivers to advance to. Fortunately, we’re able to help each other accomplish our goals.

BLAST: Tell us about local girl Theresa Condict! What kind of a racer is she? Are you starting to see more and more women in the sport?

IMG_8532 Mid Ohio Saturday 160 Mid Ohio Sunday 35CC: Theresa is quite the competitor. She doesn’t have the racing experience that some of our drivers do, but you wouldn’t know that by talking to her. She’s really jumped in with two feet this year, and tried to learn everything she can, and I think that’s showing each weekend at the race track. It’s been fun to watch her progress.

I think we’re definitely starting to see more women in all forms of motorsports. The gender barriers have definitely been broken, and racing is something that’s being thought of as a women’s activity, even in the karting ranks today. A series like the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is a perfect stepping stone for a young female driver to move from karting into full bodied race cars, and gain some valuable exposure with a focus aimed towards a professional driving career.

BLAST: What is the goal of the VW TDI Cup Series?

CC: There are two main goals of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series. One is to showcase the power and benefits of Volkswagen’s clean diesel engine technology. Our race cars are achieving more than 20 mpg on the racetrack, and that’s unheard of in motorsports. Plus, these cars can get up and go because of the high torque characteristics of diesel engines. Our lap speeds generally average between 70-80 mph. Secondly, we’re hoping to advance the careers of young drivers. When drivers enter our series, they’re amateurs, but at the end of one season, they earn their pro license. This definitely allows the drivers to start looking more into the professional arena. Our top two drivers from the 2008 season both found professional-level rides in more advanced series, and we’re really proud of that. Our Champion, Josh Hurley is racing in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge series, and our runner up, Liam Kenney is racing in the ADAC Formula Masters Series in Europe.

BLAST: Has publicity and media coverage grown with the series?

CC: Yes, the amount of attention we receive when in a race market has definitely grown as we’re able to race at new tracks and expose new markets to the unique qualities of our racing. People can’t believe that we’re racing mostly stock Jettas and that we’re able to run an entire race weekend on only four gallons of fuel.

BLAST: A few years ago you made the move into the racing division of VW full time. So this series is like your baby? Are you happy with its development so far?

CC: Well, the series is still in it’s infancy really, so I guess you could say that. It has taken a tremendous effort from a very dedicated crew to get it where is it today in less then 2 years. But when we get to the race track and get to witness the excitement of the competition, it’s definitely worth it. Plus, our ultimate goal is to sell cars, and Volkswagen’s diesel sales in June were the best that they’ve ever been since we reintroduced diesel cars into the market. So, when you can see that there’s a direct connection between your work and the company achieving its goals, that’s always a good thing. We are very happy so far, but looking for even better things in the coming seasons.

Theresa Condict, 22, began racing on the local and regional autocross scene in 2004. Since then, she’s continued to compete in these events and won an SCCA solo national championships in her class in 2008. Last year, she also began competing in local karting events. She graduated from McGill University in 2008 with a degree in physics, which she believes helps her better understand vehicle dynamics. In the future, Condict hopes to follow in the footsteps of her racing hero, Lyn St. James, and compete in the IndyCar Series.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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