Conducting a paddock poll would reveal that the fifth race in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup at the Nürburgring is a special event on the calendar for all the drivers. It is the highlight of the motor racing year for Volkswagen driver Benjamin Leuchter. It was in March 2008 that the Duisburg native first got to know the circuit that changed his life. A flashback: driving a Ford Fiesta 1600, Leuchter celebrated the class win at the first attempt in the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring.
By this point, Leuchter had already completed a tough apprenticeship in the sport. In 2003, he made it into the BMW Junior team after competing in an assessment day held by the Munich carmaker. Just eight talented young drivers enjoyed this support. Across the whole of Europe. Leuchter was one, and Sebastian Vettel was another. However, the two German youngsters went their separate ways more quickly than envisaged. Vettel continued to climb the career ladder all the way to the Formula 1 world championship title, while the first year confirmed to Leuchter that his family could not make the financial commitment required for a career in formula racing. He decided to switch to touring car racing and has been enjoying success there.
Competing in the WTCR represents a childhood dream come true for Leuchter. It is no surprise that the only German driver in the 2019 starting field is taking on the challenge with Volkswagen. Alongside his involvement as a driver, the 31-year-old is also a brand ambassador and motorsport representative for Volkswagen. And not just that: this year, Leuchter is celebrating his tenth anniversary with the brand. He had started work as an instructor in the Volkswagen Driving Experience team in 2009 – and continues to do that job to this day. He is also intensively involved in the testing and development programmes of new production cars for the brand.