02 July 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa unwraps Golf 8 GTI Global Touring Car

PoloDriver.com may centre on Polos, but we’re big fans of other racing Volkswagens, too. And when it looks like this, the latest VW-badged racer from Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa piqued our interest. Ladies and gentleman, say ‘hello’ to the Golf GTI Global Touring Car.

That’s right, Global Touring Car (GTC). Different to the Golf GTI TCR which is raced in Europe, the GTI GTC has a chassis and running gear which is also common to other GTC racers. Other strict control measures include a single, shared ECU, tyres, suspension and other components. The GTC series was introduced in 2016, and is South Africa’s premier circuit racing series, and includes both the main GTC Championship (GTC1) as well as the second-tier GTC2 class. Five manufacturers will line up on the 2020 starting line when motorsport comes out of hibernation following the COVID-19 pandemic.

First motorsport-prepared Golf 8 GTI
Perhaps more significantly, the Golf GTI GTC is the first motorsport-prepared eight-generation Golf, and beats the road car to South Africa by at least six months. Reports state that the GTI GTC has around 500bhp and 442lb ft of torque from its highly-tuned ‘EA888’ engine, which has improved con-rods and pistons. ‘New features in the Golf 8 GTI racing car include an all-new chrome moly-tubular chassis which is much stiffer and lighter than the previous GTC Jetta,’ commented Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport at the car’s virtual unveiling today.

‘For the past four years we have been racing with the Jetta. Since the Jetta is no longer offered in right-hand drive markets, we had to find an appropriate successor, and that is where the idea to use the Golf 8 GTI came from. Even though the Golf 8 GTI will only be officially launched and available from South African dealers in 2021, we wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the Golf 8 GTI’s performance attributes ahead of the local market introduction,’ said Martina Biene, head of the Volkswagen Brand.

Newly developed SupaCup Polo
Two Golf GTI GTCs will compete in GTC1, driven by defending 2019 champion Keagan Masters and Daniel Rowe, winner of GTC2 in 2016. Volkswagen Motorsport will also be represented in the SupaCup, which replaces the GTC2 classification. The 2016 Driver Search winner and 2017 Polo Cup Rookie winner, Jonathan Mogotsi will be racing the SupaCup Polo, which is a newly developed car for the second tier class, producing 200kW and fitted with a locally sourced six-speed M-Trac sequential gearbox.

‘Even with five manufacturers competing in the GTC, it is one of the most premier circuit racing series in South Africa due to its competitive nature. It is a tough championship to win, consistent scoring of points at every round is very important,’ said Rowe. ‘Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have not been permitted to race. All the motorsport fraternity is hoping that by August we can get the cars on the track, although it will most likely be without any spectators.’

The start of the official 2020 South African Motorsport circuit racing season is still unconfirmed, but it is hoped that motorsport events can resume in August 2020 and the first round will likely start at Zwartkops Raceway in Johannesburg.

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