Volkswagen Polo R WRC Concept

The World Rally Championship offers the most diverse technological challenge in worldwide car racing to the manufacturers involved. Various types of ground have to be considered during the concept design of a WRC vehicle such as all manner of gravel, scree, tarmac, ice, snow and mud. The calendar this season features 13 WRC rounds on four different continents. Hence a world rally car has to function in extremely different climatic conditions, from the blazing heat of South America to the icy ride in Scandinavia.

In addition, new technical rules have come into effect in the WRC this year. For the first time, engines with a maximum displacement of 1,600 cc, direct injection and turbochargers are prescribed.

“The new Technical Regulations of the World Rally Championship are an ideal fit for Volkswagen’s philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles,” says Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board of the Volkswagen Brand, Development Division. “Downsizing, high efficiency and reliability are top priorities for our customers. The timing of the WRC debut is optimal for Volkswagen. The big task of engineering a vehicle that is competitive and capable of winning at a large number of challenges holds great appeal for us.”

Volkswagen will prepare and enter the Polo R WRC as a factory commitment. In doing so, the Wolfsburg-based squad can build on structures which have been established over the past few years. The World Rally Championship is a new ambitious aim for the team that has won the “Dakar” in the past three years. “We can draw on an experienced and proven squad which has done an outstanding job in top-calibre sport in the past few years,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “Even though the WRC is new territory for us and involves learning in many areas the team already meets some important prerequisites now as it brings an unwavering professional attitude and resolve to deliver absolute perfection to this commitment.”

Volkswagen looks back on a small yet impressive rally tradition. Production-based vehicles from Wolfsburg celebrated rally racing successes in the middle end of the 1980s. The most important one: In 1986 the Swede Kenneth Eriksson and his German co-driver Peter Diekmann in the Volkswagen Golf GTI 16V claimed the world champion’s title in the newly incepted Group A. In addition, Volkswagen vigorously promoted young rally talent through the Golf Rally Cup. The fielding of the Volkswagen Polo R WRC from 2013 onwards closes the loop: Today’s WRC vehicles are still based on the philosophy of the Group A introduced back then, which enables rally sport to be conducted with vehicles based on production models.

Source: Volkswagen press

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