Archive | Motorsport

26 April 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 set for competitive debut at 2018 Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Volkswagen Motorsport has announced that the new Polo GTI R5 rally car will mark its competitive arrival at the 25-28 October 2018 Rally Spain, two months after its anticipated debut at the German round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). A longer testing period to make sure the car is fully developed is the reason given for the delay.

One of the most diverse rallies in the calendar, Rally Spain features a mix of both asphalt and gravel surfaces, with teams given just 75 minutes to change the whole specification of the car. For Volkswagen Motorsport, though, the Catalonian round holds other appeal: the Spanish event is where it won its first WRC Manufacturers’ Championship with the Polo R WRC in 2013, and the same car claimed the top spot at each of the four occasions it contested the rally.

‘First really tough test’
‘The Rally Spain is a very happy stomping ground for us,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘We celebrated our first world championship title here. You simply don’t forget moments like that. With its varying surfaces, the Rally Spain is obviously also excellently suited to a first really tough test under competitive conditions,’ he continued.

‘The tests have gone well. The drivers who have tested the Polo GTI R5 have given very positive feedback,’ said Smeets. ‘Despite this, we still want to change a few things before the car is finally homologated on 1 October.’

‘Fully-developed and fast’
Gerard Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead for Polo GTI R5 and world champion Sébastien Ogier’s former race engineer, added: ‘A customer sport car must almost be developed even more thoroughly than a World Rally Car for a works team. Once the car has been successfully homologated, a customer often does not have the opportunity to make any changes or test the car thoroughly. For this reason, we are taking the time to ensure that we supply our customers with a fully-developed and fast Polo GTI R5.’

The 272bhp, four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 is the latest in a long line of Volkswagen Motorsport rally cars, the most successful being the Polo R WRC which collected 12 titles, 43 of a possible 52 wins, and 640 stage victories. The Polo GTI R5 is focused on customer sport, and is aimed at drivers in the WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship as well as European and national rally series.

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29 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

An icy inquest: Petter Solberg tests 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in Sweden

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Volkswagen Motorsport’s new rally weapon, the Polo GTI R5 has taken to the roads again. This time the frozen tracks of Sweden provided the new 272bhp rally machine with a stern test, the car out through its paces by no fewer than three world champions: World Rallycross Polo RX pilot Petter Solberg, 2000 and 2002 title holder Marcus Grönholm and junior and WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand.

The latest four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 assessment took place near the town of Kall, north-west of Östersund. Temperatures were as low as -15 degrees Celsius on the 4km-long route. Solberg had Veronica Engan – who usually reads pace notes for his son Oliver – relaying back the route commands.

‘Fantastic to drive’
Solberg was impressed by the new car: ‘It was just fantastic to be back behind the wheel of a rally car again and to help out the Volkswagen family. It was a really fun day. The team has done such a great job and the car is fantastic to drive. I didn’t want to get out at the end of the day!

‘We covered almost 300 kilometres in one day – very different to what I’m used to in the World Rallycross Championship, but I used my extensive rallying experience to work with the engineers on small changes to the car,’ the Norwegian rallycross and rally star added.

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25 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

New Polo GTI chosen as basis for 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup circuit racer

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

On the same day the sixth-generation model is launched in South Africa, today the wraps have been taken off the latest racing Volkswagen Polo which will contest the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup. The first circuit racing version of the all-new Polo, the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup car is based on the GTI model, which will arrive in South Africa later this year.

‘Push to Pass’ system
Carrying the same ‘Beware the Confidence’ tagline as the standard car’s launch materials, the Engen Volkswagen Cup GTI has a 2.0-litre, 197bhp four-cylinder turbocharged engine which produces 251lb ft / 340Nm of torque at 1 bar of boost. There is also a new ‘Push to Pass’ system which releases another 23bhp for 10 seconds, similar to that seen on the 2012 Scirocco R-Cup cars.

In a difference to the intial batch of European road cars, the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTIs have a six-speed manual ‘MQ350’ gearbox, taken from the latest Golf GTI. Locally-sourced SAX shock absorbers sit suspend the standard Polo’s five-door body, while the car sits on coil springs front and rear, and rides on Dunlop semi-slick tyres.

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

‘Most successful racing formula’
Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa said: ‘Volkswagen Motorsport would like to thank Engen for their on-going sponsorship and commitment to what we see as South Africa’s most successful racing formula as well as the competitors who have the confidence in the series to make the change to the all-new car.’

Those 24 competitors will contest a total of eight rounds in 2018, the 22nd year the Polo-based Engen Volkswagen Cup has been run. ‘We are very excited for the start of the 2018 racing season,’ continued Mike Rowe. ‘I am sure that all the Engen Volkswagen Cup competitors are raring to go.’

‘The series, which has become known as the School of Champions, is a special one in South Africa and has crowned a total of 16 different national champions. It also an immensely competitive one as only five people have managed to win it more than once,’ he added.

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

GTI badge debut
The closely-fought Engen Volkswagen Cup series is a one-make series where performance is kept equal to provide entertaining motor racing. Teams are only permitted to adjust the chassis set-up and tyre pressures, while the engine power is also limited. The 2018 season sees the ‘GTI’ badge make its debut on a South African Polo Cup racer in the series’ two-decade history.

The 2018 South African circuit racing season starts on 24 March, when a comprehensive field of more than 24 young Polo drivers aged 15 to 27 line up for the start of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup at the Kyalami race track in Johannesburg.

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24 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

A successful sell-out: fifteen orders confirmed for new Polo GTI R5 rally car

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

As the series production car is gaining sales momentum in Europe and South America, Volkswagen Motorsport has confirmed the first customers for the new Polo GTI R5, based on the new sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo, launched last autumn.

Fifteen paying customers have been confirmed for the first batch of the new Polo-based rally car, which means the first run of motorsport machines is now sold out. The 272bhp, four-wheel drive rallying Polos will be delivered in the second half of the year, with both European and South American customers eagerly awaiting delivery.

Baumschlager Rallye & Racing GmbH in Austria will take three cars, headed up by Austrian rally champion Raimund Baumschlager, who won the 2017 Austrian Rally Championship with a Polo R WRC previously campaigned by four-time Polo champion Sébastien Ogier. Belgium also sees three cars head there: two for BMA and one for THX Racing.

A pair of GTI R5s will end up at Printsport Oy in Finland, while another duo will head to Italy for HK Racing. One car will go to Portugal, and previous World Rallycross hi-fliers Kristoffersson Motorsport has also ordered one GTI R5.

A trio of cars will also undergo the longest journey of cars in the initial batch: a Paraguay Volkswagen importer 11,000km away from the Volkswagen Motorsport workshops in Hanover, Miguel Carrizosa/DIESA S.A., will contest national events in the country.

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘Customer demand is enormous’
‘We are overwhelmed by the positive feedback on the new Polo GTI R5*,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘The customer demand is enormous. We are pleased about this, and it is an additional motivation to provide the teams with the best possible rally car.’

‘We assemble each car by hand in our workshop in Hanover,’ said Juliane Gründl, head of sales and distribution at Volkswagen Motorsport. ‘We are on schedule. However, we are still in the process of structuring production, and in the aftersales implementation phase. We obviously want to be ideally positioned in time for the sales launch.’

FIA regulations have determined part of the car’s make-up said Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director François-Xavier ‘FX’ Demaison: ‘The air restrictor regulation is one of the cost-reducing measures in the R5 category, and engineers’ hands are also tied by R5 regulations in other areas. For instance, many technical components must come from a production vehicle, while standard parts are required in other areas.

‘The Polo GTI R5 uses the gearbox and four-wheel drive system of suppliers who also supply the competition. Working with our technical development colleagues in Wolfsburg and the ŠKODA motorsport staff, whose R5 vehicle has been competing since 2015, was a great help,’ elaborated Demaison.

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘The price limit is a challenge’
For 2018, the FIA-sanctioned price for an R5-category car will be €190,000. ‘The price limit is a challenge for every development department. We inevitably have to make compromises because you can’t simply choose the optimal solution in terms of performance which would probably also be the most expensive. It has to be affordable,’ explained Demaison.

‘But engineers are used to conforming with guidelines, whether they’re technical or financial. And because the R5 category is about customer motorsport, these cost containment measures make perfect sense,’ he added. Therefore, the wider wings of the Polo GTI R5 are not made from ultra-lightweight, expensive carbon fibre, but rather from affordable plastic.

Development of the latest Volkswagen Motorsport rally Polo began at the start of 2017, ahead of the launch of the sixth-generation Polo road car. Testing began in December in France, the UK, and Germany, and the plan is for the car to have its official homologation and subsequent debut on the 2018 Rally of Germany in the summer.

272bhp, 0 to 62mph in 4.1 seconds
Whereas the production Polo GTI** has a 197bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, its rallying relative is capped to 1.6 litres, but 272bhp and 295lb ft / 400Nm of torque is sent through a five-speed sequential gearbox to all four wheels for maximum grip on any surface. A weight of just 1,230kg (the Polo GTI road car tips the scales at 1,355kg) sees the new Hanover rally racer rocket to 62mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds, 2.6 seconds faster than the road car.

It all sounds very promising, and we can’t wait to see the new car in angry action. We also excitedly await the Polo GTI R5 writing the next chapter in Volkswagen’s rich rallying story.

* Polo GTI R5: the concept vehicle has not gone on sale, and therefore Directive 1999 / 94 EC does not apply.

** Polo GTI (147kW / 197bhp) fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban 7.7 / extra-urban 4.9 / combined 5.9; CO2 emissions (combined) in g/km: 134; efficiency class: C.

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31 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

The PoloDriver.com review of 2017

2017 was yet another busy year for the Volkswagen Polo. The launch and introduction of the all-new sixth-generation model has been the major news, and although there has been no Polo rally action in 2017, the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo GTI has dominated the World Rallycross Championship in the hands of Johan Kristoffersson.

But, with a debut for the new Polo GTI R5 later in 2018, the stages look set for a Polo return to asphalt and gravel action. The Engen Volkswagen Cup in South Africa is due to run new-generation Polo GTIs, too, in 2018, so next year’s Polo motorsport activity is shaping up very nicely.

Right now, though, we round up the Polo’s biggest achievements in 2017. (Bold entries are illustrated by the picture above that particular month’s list of events.)

2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

January

  • Al-Attiyah confirms no Polo R WRC in 2017 FIA World Rally Championship
  • PSRX and Volkswagen Sweden rallycross team confirmed
  • Polo Sound special edition launched in Germany
  • Indian-market Polo GTI wins Autocar India’s Performance Hatchback of the Year award
  • Polo is the tenth best-selling car in Europe (JATO).

2016 Volkswagen Polo GTI 230

February

  • FIA prohibits complete homologation of 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC
  • Polo GTI 230 special edition for Switzerland
  • Guy Wilks confirmed for Polo RX in 2017 World Rallycross Championship
  • Polo-based VW Ameo wins Car India and Bike India’s ’Compact Sedan Of The Year’ award
  • Polo is the seventh best-selling car in the UK.

2017 Volkswagen Citi Vivo (South Africa)

March

  • Citi Vivo special edition launched in South Africa
  • 1,250,000th Polo production jubilee celebrated by Volkswagen South Africa
  • Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line launched in South Africa
  • PSRX Volkswagen Sweden reveals 2017 World Rallycross Polo GTI Supercar
  • Volkswagen Motorsport announces new Polo R5 rally car testing plans
  • Indian-market Polo GTI wins the Thrill of Driving Award at the Times Auto Awards
  • Polo-based VW Ameo wins the Compact Sedan of the Year at the Times Auto Awards
  • Polo is the seventh best-selling car in the UK.

2017 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo GTI Supercar, World RX of Barcelona: Kristoffersson

April


  • PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo GTIs show pace at World RX of Barcelona
  • Kristoffersson drives Polo GTI Supercar to World RX of Portugal podium
  • Volkswagen India launches limited edition Polo GT Sport
  • Indian-market Polo GTI wins Flywheel Auto Awards’ 2017 Performance Hatchback of the Year award
  • Indian-market Polo GTI wins BBC Top Gear Awards’ 2017 Hot Hatch of the Year award
  • Polo is the ninth best-selling car in the UK.

2018 Volkswagen Polo prototype

May

  • Fifth-generation Polo-based Volkswagen Vento Allstar and GT launched in Malaysia
  • World RX of Hockenheim podium place for Kristoffersson and Polo GTI
  • PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo GTIs dominate World RX of Belgium with double podium
  • Sixth-generation Polo prototype drives and ‘sneak peek’ video published
  • Solberg and Kristoffersson do the double at World RX of Great Britain
  • Polo is the fifth best-selling car in the UK.

2017 Volkswagen Polo world premiere

June

  • Volkswagen launches sixth-generation Polo ‘teaser’ video campaign
  • Johan Kristoffersson takes second 2017 World RX victory in Norway
  • First images of new Polo revealed ahead of 16 June world premiere
  • New sixth-generation Polo unveiled at Berlin world premiere event on 16 June
  • Polo is the eighth best-selling car in the UK.

> Read More

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