DRIVEN: VW CADDY RACER
Express delivery takes on a new meaning with this most unusual track toy
Back in the day, Elliott's predecessor, Peter Wyhinny, started the phenomenon of racing a Caddy in the Volkswagen Cup and it was hugely popular - with the spectators and commentators. Other racers regularly complained about the clouds of black smoke it produced. Having driven it a few years back our own editor still claims to be able to taste the diesel on the back of his throat now.
That was only one of the reasons Elliott took a different tack for the 2011 season. The TDI diesel racer was, to put it bluntly, a bit of a shed. It was fine under power (so long as you weren't behind it), but back off or get your braking point wrong and it would spin like a top. Elliott was hauled before the stewards at Brands Hatch for spinning off in places they'd never seen anyone go off.
Keeping it all in check are three-way adjustable Nitron dampers all-round, with all the suspension hardware mounted on solid bushings and running adjustable anti-roll bars. In a break from standard road-going Caddys there's a multi-link rear suspension set-up from a Golf, again solidly mounted. Big 335mm discs are mounted up front, the rear ones much punier. There's no ABS or traction control or anything, but you do get brake bias adjustment. Given our half hour on track we'll not bother fiddling with that.
Don't believe for a second that this van was purely a marketing exercise. That's perhaps how Elliott and his predecessor justified its existence, but it has the makings of a competitive racer. Simon never raced before he took ownership of the Caddy Racer and yet he finished well and reckons it could be a regular podium finisher in the right hands. Audacious overtaking moves are nothing new for van drivers of course but if you've got £20K burning a hole in your pocket and fancy taking those skills to the track you know who to call!