Anton Andres / Volkswagen | November 08, 2017 13:39
Volkswagen semi-officially returns to WRC, previews Polo GTI R5 rally car
Volkswagen may have left the World Rally Championship (WRC) but they have long been involved in rallying for over four decades. At the moment, the brand has been one of the top contenders in the Global Rallycross series. Now, Volkswagen is previewing their return to the sport, an entry for the junior categories of WRC.
Dubbed the the Polo GTI R5, the car will be sold to customer teams (privateers) who will compete in WRC2, the series just below WRC. That said, Volkswagen has yet to confirm if they will enter as a fully-fleged, factory team. Under the R5 rules, the car must production derived and homologated in order to enter. Volkswagen says that the development of the Polo GTI R5 has been in full swing since the start of 2017, while initial test drives have been planned for just before the year ends.
Based on the teaser sketch, the Polo GTI R5 will have much wider fenders than its road-going equivalent. At the same time, there is a more aggressive aero kit and a large rear wing. That said, the car has to be based on the standard Polo GTI so expect the shell of the car to be derived straight from the hot hatchback.
Given the rules of R5, the upcoming rally Polo will have a 1.6-liter, turbocharged engine, much like the road car. Unlike the road car, however, the rally-spec GTI packs 270 PS although the manufacturer did not mention its torque figure. Another significant difference is its drivetrain as it comes with all-wheel drive and not front wheel drive. Other features include a sequential five-speed racing transmission and a comprehensive safety package such as a roll cage, fire extinguisher and a switch to turn off all vehicle electronics.