Following on from the Formula V racing series, Volkswagen introduced the one-make Junior Cup series for the 1976 season. In it’s inaugural year of running, 50 specially commissioned Sciroccos were raced using the new for ’76 fuel injected engine.
The premise of the new race series was to give young, promising racers a chance to prove themselves in a relatively cheap race series that was on a level playing field due to the identical cars. Prospective racers, all of whom had to be under the age of 30, needed to apply to VW Motorsport in Hannover for a chance to buy one of the 50 Sciroccos. Around 1200 initial applicants were whittled down to 200 due to the 5000DM deposit required. Due to the overwhelming number of applicants, a test session was held at Volkswagens Ehra-Lessien test track in February 1976. Slaloms, wet track, time trials and cornering tests ensured that only 45 drivers with the best abilities were given the chance to race in the Junior Cup. The remaining seats were given to winners of other race series. Professional guest drivers, celebrities and journalists would race in some rounds, starting at the back of the grid. The main sponsors of the series were Castrol, Sachs and Minolta.
Prize money of 5,000DM could be won for 1st place at each round, with the final race at Hockenheim boasting a 10,000DM purse.
Round 1 of the series took place on 11th April 1976 at Hockenheim, as a Formula 2 ‘Jim Clark Rennen’ support race. Seven more races took place at tracks like Sylt and the Nürburgring, with the season finale returning to Hockenheim in September. The outcome of the season was a point of contention in German car magazines of the era. Initially the series win was awarded to Willi Bergmeister by amassing the most points, but ‘Sport Auto’ magazine claimed that Manfred Winkelhock ultimately won the title due to him winning the last race at Hockenheim. Even today, separate VW press releases contradict themselves claiming that both drivers won the championship. Let’s just call the series result ambiguous.
1976 VW Junior Cup “winner” Manfred Winkelhock. Later in his career he would race in Formula 1. He was tragically killed in 1985 whilst participating in an endurance race in Canada.
Round 1. April 11th, Hockenheim.
Round 2. 25th April, Sylt.
Round 3. 2nd May, Nürburgring.
Round 4. 23rd May, Mainz-Finthen.
Round 5. 20th June, Hockenheim.
Round 6. 27th June, Norisring.
Round 7. 22nd August, Kassel Calden.
Round 8. 26th September, Hockenheim.
Programme covers sourced from http://www.progcovers.com/motor/index.html
For more great images from Nürburgring, click here Gotty.de
Round 4. Mainz-Finthen. Winner-Luis Bachmaier
Luis Bachmaier, winner of the Mainz-Finthen round.
Round 5. Hockenheim.
Round 6. Norisring. Winner-Manfred Winkelhock
Manfred Winkelhock(8) leads Luis Bachmaier(1) Bermel(4) and Bergmeister.
Dieter Müller (9) and Wolfgang Schütz (3) battle for position.
Round 7. Kassel Calden.
Round 8. Hockenheim. Winner-Manfred Winkelhock.
Although the Cup Scirocco cost 22,000DM to produce, it was sold to participants in the series for only 15,500DM, which for a race spec car compared well to the 13,000DM for an off the shelf Scirocco TS. The new 1.6 litre engine used Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, producing 110bhp. A precursor to the Scirocco GTI that was available from VW dealers later in 1976. To control oil temperature, a Serck oil-cooler was provided. For race use, the road legal rear exhaust box was removed and replaced with a through pipe.
Suspension was upgraded to included lowered, stiffer springs with Sachs gas shock absorbers. A 24mm anti-roll bar was attached to the rear beam. This gave neutral handling that promoted drifting when cornering at racing speeds. To assist traction and further improve handling, Pirelli 195/50 15 tyres were mounted on 15″ ATS Cup alloy wheels. ATE vented brakes discs up front combined with rear drum brakes help to retard forward motion.
Externally, the Scirocco Cup gained a Zender body kit comprising front and rear spoilers with wheel arch extensions. All cars in the series were black with the same graphics and sponsor logos. To differentiate the cars, the nose was painted in various colours. For reasons unknown, ‘TV’ headlights were used.
In the cockpit, a Matter roll cage and Britax harnesses ensured driver safety. Recaro front seats were fitted, the drivers being a racing bucket seat. The striped trim on these continued on the rear bench seat.
Series sponsor Castrol featured the Junior Cup in an ad campaign.