Volkswagen Motorsport India (VMI) has announced Chennai’s Amith Kutti as the winner of its inaugural Volkswagen Virtual Racing Championship (VW-VRC). He took home the championship, ahead of Mumbai’s Aaroh Ravindra, who finished a close second, and Netherland’s Oshan Kothadia, who finished third. The inaugural VW-VRC was conducted virtually, and was held at 5 different international racetracks, garnering over 400K views online. Through this championship, Volkswagen Motorsport India kept the motorsport momentum going, by recreating the thrill of a track experience in a virtual racing championship.
For years, Volkswagen’s one-make series has been synonymous with a fun-to-drive experience on the racetrack. This year, with the Polo Cup, the VMI team replicated the high driving standards and thrill through a virtual racing championship. The inaugural VW-VRC received over 4500 entries from over 200 cities across the world, which was shortlisted down to the final 28 participants, who competed for the championship, in an exact replica of the 2021 Volkswagen Race Polo.
Aaroh Ravindra won the Round 1 of the VW-VRC, which was held at the famed Imola Circuit, securing the first-ever fifty points of the championship, followed by Steve Smuts and Munjal Savla. Amith Kutti bagged his first race victory, in race 2, followed by Oshan Kothadia and Ravindra in third.
Monza was the venue for Round 2 and Kutti dominated race 1 to win by over 4 seconds, with Ravindra coming in second place. Pratik Sonawane (Pune) earned his maiden podium with a third-place finish. Ravindra won race 2, with Kutti right behind in second and Jamie Shaw (Mumbai) in third.
The VW-VRC went to Nurburgring for Round 3, where Kutti bagged two back-to-back wins, to cement his place on the top, with Steve Smuts and Aaroh Ravindra finishing in second and third position in race 1. Oshan Kothadia was a close second in race 2, followed by Steve Smuts in third.
Round 4 was held at the Vallelunga racetrack and the winter conditions pushed the drivers’ capabilities to their limits. Steve Smuts won his first race with Kutti in second and Ravindra in third. Race 2 had Kothadia on the top step of the podium with Kutti just a second behind and Smuts in third. The last 2 rounds featured a third race as well. Kutti won ahead of Ravindra and Kothadia, who fought till the end for a photo finish with less than a tenth of a second between the two.
The fifth and final round of the VW-VRC was literally just a battle between the top three, fighting for the championship. The three were in a class of their own, battling each other throughout the weekend. Amith Kutti won the first of three races cementing himself as the provisional VW VRC Champion. Another photo finish with less than a hundredth of a second to spare, Kothadia came second followed by Ravindra. Race 2 was a photo finish between Ravindra and Kothadia, but this time for the win. Kothadiya won by a thousandth of a second ahead of Ravindra, while Kutti was third. The third and final race of the VW VRC, was fittingly won by Kutti, just a hundredth of a second ahead of Ravindra, who was followed by Kothadia.
Amith Kutti ended the season with 492 points and was crowned the Champion of the inaugural Volkswagen Virtual Racing Championship. Aaroh Ravindra finished second with 440 points, ahead of Oshan Kothadia in third place, with 417 points. Steve Smuts and Rishabh Bannerjee were tied on 282 points for fourth and fifth respectively.
Commenting on the occasion, Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said, “It was thrilling to watch the championship with close encounters continuing into the last race. I would like to congratulate Amith Kutti for his consistency throughout the championship and look forward to meeting him on the track. We believe that VW-VRC is a phenomenal steppingstone for young talent, especially from tier 2, tier 3 cities, to showcase their racing skills and the format can be a part of the driver selection process for upcoming races.”
Amith Kutti on winning the inaugural VW-VRC, “Volkswagen Virtual Racing championship is a great learning platform for enthusiastic racers like me. It provided an opportunity for everyone across countries to participate and showcase their skills virtually. From tutorials, practice, officiating, briefings, etc. everything was well-planned and executed to perfection. I am excited to have won the championship and would like to thank everyone who has supported me.”
“Ever since the announcement of VW-VRC, I was looking forward to test the simulation version of the Volkswagen Race Polo. I must say it has been a fantastic experience as the team has replicated the same experience of track in their virtual model. A big thank you to the Volkswagen and IR E-sports team for organizing this event. It surely did brighten up the year for us Motorsport enthusiasts!”, said Oshan Kothadia a former runner up of the Polo Cup.
In addition to the 28 participants, every round of the inaugural championship of VW-VRC witnessed additional competition in the form of guest racers. 6X Guinness World Record Holder, Ronny Wechselberger, International eRacing Champion Mia Rose and budding South African racer, Jonathan Mogotsi, who was placed 10th in the overall championship in the Engen Volkswagen Cup, were some of the esteemed people who graced this championship with their presence.