Not that long ago, if you were at a gathering of automobile enthusiasts and said you had a diesel race car, you would likely have been laughed out of the group. And if I’m completely honest, I probably would have been one of those laughing. The term “diesel” coupled with “performance” just were two words at opposite ends of the spectrum to me even as recently as the mid 1990s. I recall that I had a friend who was very excited about the then relatively new TDi Golf and Jetta, reciting from carefully memorized brochures the fuel economy figures in any given situation. But then, something strange happened. I grew up and got a job where I had to drive – a lot – and was footing my own gas bill. Suddenly, the concept of 50 m.p.g. and having something a little different than the typical performance cars made sense to me. I was contemplating all sorts of weird permutations, generally into the cars I owned. For example, I thought the concept of swapping a diesel motor into the V8 quattro chassis was an interesting one, or for that matter an Audi S6 – the look of performance, but the mileage and run-for-eternity longevity of a diesel motor. Then Volkswagen did us all a favor and started bringing over performance versions of their TDi cars, starting with the Jetta TDi Cup Edition. An effective homologation of their one-make race series, the TDi Cups were essentially a GLi with the TDi powerplant – and offer performance in corners to make things fun coupled to fuel economy that makes life more practical:
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