Westside Volkswagen’s Tom Daly continues his family tradition of racing with the addition of something not often seen in the Sports Car Club of America, an oil burner.
Daly’s 2010 VW Golf TDI (diesel) is good for 125 mph and may run up against 300 hp Ford Mustangs, according to club organizers. Group members and prospects met at Westside VW on a Sunday in April for an open house and pre-season vehicle inspections.
“He should just get a Mustang,” joked one participant. “Don’t fight it man.”
Race drivers each receive a safety sticker after their vehicles have been been fully “teched,” and ready for the upcoming racing season, said Mike Baloga, regional executive for the SCCA’s Land O’ Lakes region, which claims about 450 members. The certification saves time before the first race, so club members can focus more on other preparations.
Daly, a used car manager, races the Golf and a 2007 Rabbit with his sons, David and Patrick. David has been racing for 16 years, and knows his father’s skills. “He’s faster than I am and that’s the truth,” David said.
The cars are equipped with safety cages and each has a Hans device, supporting the driver’s head and neck. And, fire suits are used.
Where the diesel lacks in horsepower, Daly hopes it will make up for it in low-end torque and turbocharging, where it has an advantage over other cars. With electronic tuning and with a modified suspension, intake and exhaust system, Daly is hoping for 180 hp from the sub-3,000 pound car. The 2007 runs a 2.5 liter 5-cylinder gas engine and weighs about the same.
The diesel has to be “petitioned” into the club, so that’s the first step. “I don’t know what it’s going to run like against the other cars,” said Daly. “It’s probably an experimental year for us at the same time.”
The Daly trio heads to Brainerd International Raceway on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The cars receive small sponsorships from Volkswagen and Westside VW.