Karts to cars: Jurca ready to make jump

David Jurca loves to drive fast cars.

Federal Way High School graduate David Jurca

David Jurca loves to drive fast cars.

The Federal Way High School graduate and former No. 1-ranked shifter kart driver is hoping to make a successful jump into sports car racing in 2008.

Jurca, 23, will be competing in the new Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series. Jurca was officially chosen for the driver selection event taking place at Firebird Raceway April 3-5.

For the last year and a half, Jurca has been racing, coaching and working for Italian Motors USA, a racing team led by Sun Trust Racing’s Michael Valiante of the Grand Am series.

“In January, I sat down with (Valiante) and talked to him about the potential of the Jetta TDI Cup,” Jurca said. “He and I both agreed that it is a step forward for my career as a driver. I will now focus my efforts on making it through the driver selection event, so I can compete in the full season of competition.”

Jurca has been driving high-powered go karts since he was 8 years old. Jurca’s 2007 season was highlighted by a Pro Shifter Championship at the Florida Winter Tour, and victories at the IAME International Challenge in Spain, as well as the TaG World Championships. He was the No-1 ranked shifter kart driver for parts of 2003, as well as 2006.

Jurca has also tried his hand at formula open-wheel car racing and was a 2003 Skip Barber Champ Car Scholarship Driver, finished third in the 2004 Cooper Tires Formula SCCA National Championship, and was one of six finalists in the Red Bull F1 Driver Search.

Making its debut on American shores this summer, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series is an innovative approach to motorsports, according to Jurca. The Jetta TDI Cup is composed of 30 factory-prepared and managed 2008 clean-diesel Jetta TDIs, piloted by drivers aged 16 to 26, who are relative unknowns.

Volkswagen’s goal is to find the driver with the most talent and help them break into the world of professional motorsports.

The mid-size car is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder TDI, clean-diesel engine. The Jetta TDI is lightly modified from the factory car, featuring race-ready suspension and brakes, and a six-speed, double-clutch automatic transmission.

“The Jetta TDI Cup racing series will celebrate Volkswagen’s diesel technology and heritage in motorsports as good, clean fun,” said Stefan Jacoby, CEO, Volkswagen of America, Inc.

“Not only will the young drivers gain real-life track experience in a factory-prepared race vehicle, it will allow them to develop their own mindset of today’s clean-diesel technology, and foster increased awareness of its advantages in this new era of environmental sensitivity.”

Jurca is currently taking online courses at Highline Community College. He has over a year of college under his belt and has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average, while continuing in his racing career.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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