I got hooked on autox when the original WRX came with a SCCA membership. I've run several different cars, mostly in stock/street class. Prior to the VN, I was in a FiST and then a GTI. I picked up my VN this week.
Our autox season starts in late April, so it will be a while before I get to compete with the VN and see where it stands. I don't usually explore the limits on public roads. The VN is a tweener between the Civic Si/Type-R, Focus ST/RS, Golf GTI/R. It is classed against the faster of those pairs, but probably won't be quite on pace.
With that said, there are three items that may help the VN...
1) front camber if performance accessories (camber bolts) are in the FSM
2) usable torque, especially if exhaust over-run functions as an anti-lag
3) dimensions - width, weight, CG
The rear end on the GTI was planted to a fault. I ran a reverse stagger tire setup, bigger rear bar and much higher rear pressures to free up the rear end. Only once did my setup generate too much rotation in the rear. It was on a cold day where the front tires came up to temp much quicker than the rears. A couple of the articles on the VN seemed to indicate that the rear may be a little unstable at times, which I would take as a good thing compared to the GTI.
Against top national drivers, it will be an uphill climb. I would be surprised to see any of the top drivers in the VN because of its likely underdog status. I'm far from competitive nationally, but should still do ok with it locally. I'm in the VN because I like it for being good every day of the week, not just the weekends.
Specifically compared to the GTI, it fits in the same footprint in the garage. The seats and ergonomics are pretty close. The VN might have a little more thigh room. The GTI had more headroom. My GTI was a 2-door, and I like having a bigger drivers door (I'm 6'5"). The VN 3rd door will make it easier to carry golf clubs. The interior isn't quite as mature and polished, but does offer more newer tech function. The dynamic adjustability things like dampers and exhaust are awesome. And of course the exhaust sound is a noticeable improvement over the GTI.
The only things that I'll miss from the GTI are the heated seats, adjustable armrest, 5mph cruise control bump feature, digital speed center display and lower hatch liftover.
I miss the days when publications like SuperStreet would test different tire which ultimately help us know what's best. Now we have to depend on other owners.
Have you been looking into other tire options as yet? I know some people already have their brand and even model of tire they flock to usually.
I ran Firestone Firehawk Indy 500s on my Gen Coupe. (Still have them as winters were on when it was totalled).
225/40/19 front 255/40/19 rear. Found them to be way better than the Bridgestone Potenza re050a stock tires.
What colour VN did you get?
I started a thread in the Motorsports area for setup. The Bridgestone RE71s are a popular choice for FWD cars like the VN. Some people like the Rivals in the mid-summer heat. I personally have used a reverse stagger setup in the past, but too early to say what works with the VN.
Here's my VN with the winter tires/wheels - Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ 245/40 on Enkei TS10 18x8 +50