Several jumbo jets without engines here, a few old sport aircraft there. Between them a discarded trailer from a shipping company: the scenery at what was formerly Bruntingthorpe airfield in the English Midlands seems somewhat bizarre. The silence is broken by a thundering silver VW Golf. A racing car secretly making its first laps on the test track? The roaring engine suggests this may be the case. “It can really take off, don’t you think?,” laughs Mark Underwood, accelerating the Golf on the back straight that once saw Royal Air Force machines take off and land.
Later, when Underwood allows a look under the hood, the surprise is huge. The charge air cooler with the bold MAHLE logo hides anything but a large-volume engine. “The displacement is only 1.2 liters. But the Golf has more than 260 hp,” explains the young engineer, grinning with satisfaction. He is one member of a very talented team, which has developed this highly impressive demonstrator, and such a speedster is totally to his liking. “I have always been fascinated by cars and technology,” he explains. He is currently spending some of his free time trying to give an old hatchback somewhat more pep for the racetrack—with the engine of a sports car.