Archive | Motorsport

21 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden reveals 2017 World Rallycross Polo GTI Supercar

2017 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo GTI Supercar

‘There is only one target: winning.’ That was the message which came from the new PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team yesterday as the new 2017 Volkswagen Polo rallycross competition car was unveiled in Stockholm. Its new drivers, ex-World Rally and Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg (also the PSRX team owner), and Johan Kristoffersson, who came second in the 2016 FIA World Rallycross season, pulled the covers off the new machine.

This year, the familiar rallycross Polo silhouette has both a new engine, as well as a new name – the ‘GTI’ badge has been attached to the project, to encourage correlation with the production car. That’s something the Polo R World Rally Championship (WRC) car never achieved, due to the lack of a true halo road-going powerful performance model.

‘Realisation of a dream’
The Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar is, according to its new team, ‘the realisation of a dream for PSRX and a great new beginning for Volkswagen Sweden’, the latter of which gave its backing to Marklund Motorsport last year, running a pair of Polo RX Supercars for Kristoffersson and Anton Marklund. Now however, the official involvement of Volkswagen Motorsport should up the rallycross Polo’s game considerably.

The 2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar has 570bhp and will accelerate from 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds. With a chassis developed from the 2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, the engine is a development of the unit from the Beetle Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) car, which has contested events in the US for the past three years.

The latest version of Volkswagen’s rallycross machine uses similar damper and transmission technology to the Polo R WRC, too, but everything in the car’s dynamic and technical make-up has been adjusted to suit the demanding FIA World Rallycross (WRX) technical regulations, which sees cars take on mixed-surface short circuit racing venues.

2017 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo GTI Supercar

Guiding hand
Another carryover to the new car is that the development was carried out by Volkswagen Motorsport in Hanover, with the German engineers under the guidance from Technical Director FX Demaison, who was a guiding hand in Volkswagen’s World Rally Championship dominance from 2013 to 2016. Demaison knows Solberg well: he worked with the Norwegian at Subaru and also with Solberg’s private WRC team.

In terms of appearance, the new rallycross challenger looks to have more in common to its rallying relation, too. The wheel arches bear more than a passing resemblance to the now defunct Polo R WRC, while the new 2017 livery colours take the electric blue/pale blue stripes of the former Volkswagen Motorsport rallying machine and mixes them with the matt black of Monster Energy.

All in all, it’s an exciting combination, then. And Kristoffersson agrees: ‘I think that it is so exciting. Getting started with Petter, PSRX and Volkswagen Sweden is perfect for me. What we must do now is to take advantage of this perfect partnership, do a perfect lap and a perfect finish!’ said the 28 year-old.

Solberg meanwhile is thrilled to have official involvement from both Volkswagen Sweden and Volkswagen Motorsport. ‘This is a dream for me. We have worked for this for so long and to have finally reached the finish. I’m so happy to be working with Volkswagen Sweden and Volkswagen Motorsport this year, and now we have a real opportunity to realise a dream.’

Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden

‘A beautiful monster’
The Polo GTI Supercar may have only been built in just three months, but Solberg is confident of its chances. ‘We have tested the Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar for some time now and every time I step out of it, I do so with a smile on my face. And then I just want to step in and run some more. It is a real monster, but it’s a beautiful monster created by the brilliant people at Volkswagen Motorsport.’

The Norwegian continued: ‘I want to say a very, very big thank you to all the sponsors who made this year possible. All the efforts made during the pre-season will be awarded in 2017, I do not doubt for a moment. Johan and I will work as a team. I’ve known John a long time now, and we fully trust each other. We will work as a team and this year we compete on a totally equal terms.’

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets said: ‘We are looking forward to seeing the Polo GTI Supercar in its natural environment. We have worked very hard with PSRX and Volkswagen Sweden to get the Polo GTI Supercar completed in a relatively short time. Now that the car is ready and tested, we are all looking forward to the first race in Barcelona. We all want to see how Petter, Johan and our Polo fare against a very strong field in a very exciting championship.’

We look forward to watching the invigorated rallycross Polo in action, too. A taster of what we can expect is shown in the car unveiling video below. Better-looking, more powerful and perhaps more thoroughly developed than ever before, the 2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar appears set to mount an impressive challenge when the first round of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship – the World RX of Barcelona – gets underway on 31 March to 2 April at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

2017 VOLKSWAGEN POLO GTI WRX SUPERCAR
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE
Type: turbocharged and inter-cooled in line four cylinder, mounted transversely
Displacement: 2,000cc
Power output: 570bhp
Torque: 650Nm/479lb ft
Bore/stroke: 86 x 86mm
Air restrictor: 45mm (FIA regulation)
Engine control unit: Bosch

POWER TRANSMISSION
Gearbox: sequential six speed racing transmission
Final drive: permanent four-wheel drive with fixed drive between front and rear axles, front and rear multi-plate limited slip differentials
Clutch: hydraulically-actuated triple disc carbon

SUSPENSION
Front/rear: MacPherson struts, lower control arms, ZF dampers
Suspension travel: 240mm
Steering: servo-assisted rack and pinion
Braking system: vented 325mm front and rear brake discs, four-piston aluminium brake calipers
Wheels: 8.5 x 17-inch
Tyres: 225 x 640 R17 Cooper

BODYWORK
Build: FIA-controlled reinforced steel body

DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
Length/width/height: 4,000/1,820/1,452mm
Track width: 1,600mm
Wheelbase: 2,490mm
Minimum weight: 1,300kg

PERFORMANCE
Acceleration: 0-100kph/0-60mph in approx 1.9 seconds
Top speed: up to 200kph/124mph

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24 February 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Wilks to run Polo RX Supercar in 2017 World Rallycross Championship

2017 Volkswagen Polo RX: Wilks

Hot on the heels of the announcement that second placed 2016 World Rallycross Championship driver Johan Kristoffersson and ex-World Rally Champion Petter Holberg are teaming up to contest the 2017 series in a pair of Polo RX Supercars, comes this week’s news that Britain’s Guy Wilks will also run a similar car.

Highly successful 2016 machine
Two-time British Rally Champion and ex-WRC driver Wilks will contest all 12 rounds of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship in a Polo RX Supercar, which just happens to be ‘Elsa’, Kristoffersson’s highly successful 2016 machine. Wilks has previous rallycross form, too, having competed in selected 2015 and 2016 rounds of the series.

The Englishman will be entered as an independent, supported by energy drink LOCO, whose branding will mean Wilks’ Polo should be easy to spot both on and off the track when the first round of the 2017 World Rallycross Championship, the World RX of Barcelona, gets underway on 31 March at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

‘Something I’ve always wished for’
‘To get an opportunity to do a full World Championship is something I’ve always wished for,’ explained an elated Wilks. ‘To compete in a car that finished second last year adds pressure but it is the ingredient that can make it realistic for me mix it at the top, even though the bar in World RX is getting raised year on year.

‘I want to thank LOCO energy drink and Marc Blackburn for this opportunity – he saw me drive at Lydden and Loheac in 2015 and believed in me from the start. I’m going to give it absolutely everything and we want to put ourselves up against the best. There’s still a lot of work to do but 2017 is going to be an awesome journey!’ added the 36 year-old from County Durham.

‘A talent behind the wheel’
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: ‘Guy is very familiar with rallycross – he’s regularly commentated alongside Andrew Coley on our TV show. There’s no denying he’s a talent behind the wheel and proved this when he reached the final on his rallycross debut at Lydden Hill back in 2015.’

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09 February 2017 ~ 0 Comments

FIA prohibits complete homologation of 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

It’s now official. This week, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) ruled that the 2017-specification Volkswagen Polo R WRC will not be eligible to compete in any of the events in the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar.

Missed deadline
The ruling was given by officials on Tuesday 7 February, after consulting with other manufacturer teams in the series. The 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC was close to homologation completion, but missed the 1 January deadline, reports Autosport.

Volkswagen Motorsport had planned to offer the completely homologated car to private teams in this year’s WRC. Almost all the necessary homologation work had been completed by the German outfit, with hopes that the 2017-spec machine would be allowed through on a waiver.

However, after several discussions, that now will not happen. 

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets, told wrc.com: ‘Following customer enquiries, Volkswagen Motorsport asked the FIA for a waiver of the homologation of the 2017 Volkswagen Polo World Rally Car, with the purpose being to rent it out to private drivers and teams.

‘Constructive discussions’
‘It now turns out that this is not possible under the current WRC regulations. We fully accept the result, but at the same time regret it in the interests of our customers. We would like to thank the FIA for the very constructive discussions.’

Plans to offer private customers and teams the ex-championship winning 2016-specification Volkswagen Polo R WRC are still underway. Volkswagen Motorsport surprisingly pulled the plug on its World Rally Championship team in November 2016 after four seasons of domination.

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11 January 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Kristoffersson, Solberg and Volkswagen Motorsport for 2017 World RX assault

Johan Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg

While Volkswagen Motorsport’s official involvement in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship may be over, it has confirmed a presence in this year’s FIA-administered rallycross series. In a surprise announcement, Volkswagen Sweden rallycross driver Johan Kristoffersson will join ex-world rally and two-time world rallycross champion Petter Solberg in heading up a new two-car Polo team for an assault on the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

The pair of 560bhp Polo RX Supercars have been developed and engineered by Volkswagen Motorsport in its workshops in Hannover and will appear under the Volkswagen Sweden banner. However, they will be run by Solberg’s PSRX team – with technical support from Volkswagen Motorsport – and supported by Volkswagen Sweden and its distributors.

‘Everything is possible’
Former DS 3 RX driver and Norwegian Solberg was delighted with the new deal: ‘This is the dream. With backing from Volkswagen Sweden and the top-notch Johan Kristoffersson as my team-mate, everything is possible. From the start, we are aiming at gold in the championship. This is my priority for 2017: I want to take this for my PSRX Team and for Volkswagen Sweden,’ he said.

Solberg added: ‘My team has worked so hard for so many years to be in the position to make this deal and now we’re here, it’s fantastic. It really is the dream for me. We have so much potential, but we also have a lot of work to do – but what an incredible future we are working towards now. Everything in the world is possible and achievable.’

2016 Volkswagen Polo RX

‘A dream come true’
Kristoffersson was also excited about the new pairing: ‘I am incredibly proud to be part of this extremely exciting project with Petter and Volkswagen Sweden – it’s a dream come true in every way. Together we will do everything in our power to achieve success, and I intend to grab this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with both hands’. Kristoffersson finished second in the 2016 World RX series.

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets concluded: ‘We are looking forward to working together with Petter, Johan and Volkswagen Sweden in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Petter’s team and Volkswagen Sweden will take care of the operation of the whole project. This strong co-operation provides everything needed to be successful.’

‘Future objectives’
Smeets told Autosport that the new deal and greater RX focus ‘ties in with our future objectives’ following Volkswagen’s dramatic World Rally Championship withdrawal. It has been reported in the past few months that Volkswagen was just one manufacturer which was interested in an all-electric rallycross series. Such a series would fit nicely with the manufacturer’s plans to become a leader in electric car mobility.

Meanwhile, Kristoffersson’s former team-mate Anton Marklund will race a Polo RX Supercar in the Euro RX series for the Marklund Motorsport team, alongside new signing Magda Andersson. The first round of the 2017 World Rallycross Championship, the World RX of Barcelona, takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from 31 March to 2 April.

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03 January 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Al-Attiyah confirms no Polo R WRC
in 2017 FIA World Rally Championship

2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

With the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) due to get underway with this month’s Rally Monte-Carlo on 19 January, it has been confirmed that there will be no Polo R WRCs on the entry list. Rumours circulated at the end of 2016 that 2015 Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah was looking to enter the car privately as almost all of the development work has already been completed by Volkswagen Motorsport.

Lack of time
Lack of time proved the ultimate stumbling block however, as the 2017 iteration of the world championship-winning Polo was close to homologation. Al-Attiyah commented to motorsport.com that ‘time was very limited’, and that despite his plan – which was backed by the Qatari sovereign wealth fund which owns 14.6 per cent of the Volkswagen Group – sadly the deal just did not happen in an acceptable timeframe.

It had been reported in the Finnish press before Christmas 2016 that around 15m euros would have been pumped into the project by the Qatari fund, and that each 2017-specification Polo R WRC would cost in the region of 10m euros. Now that the car will not run this year, the focus has now switched to ensure that all-conquering rallying Polo is back to contest the 2018 series.

Unconfirmed rumours also suggested that VW may have been eligible to enter a pair of Polos into the 2017 WRC series to ensure that the homologation process – which was already underway – was complete. However, the overall cost of the 2017 programme would have had to be met privately and not by Volkswagen itself.

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Two-car squad
Current and four-time world rally champion Sébastien Ogier was mooted to make up a two-car squad with Al-Attiyah (above), but again, time wasn’t on the now departed VW driver’s side. The Frenchman had a limited period in which to make up his mind to secure a seat for the Monte-Carlo event, after VW’s shock announcement in November that 2016 would be its last year of WRC participation. Ogier has since signed for M-Sport, and will start his 2017 season on the start ramp in Monte-Carlo behind the wheel of the new Ford Fiesta WRC.

Even though the 2017 Polo R WRC may not compete, there may be hope for the already proven 2016 machine. A new WRC Trophy class has been created especially for 2016-specification cars, with drivers scoring points on a maximum of seven rallies, with the best six results counting towards drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles. There was talk of Al-Attiyah competing in a 2016-spec Polo R WRC before the collapse of the 2017 car deal, but there has been no confirmation of the current rallying Polo’s inclusion.

At the end of November, Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets hinted to wrc.com that a slew of ex-championship Polos would be available for customer use in 2017: ‘I am happy to announce that we can rent out the 2016 cars next year. It’s something new for us, and we have had some contact already because news and interest spreads quickly. After the 2016 Rally Australia we will take this up on a first-come-first-served basis’.

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