13 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport reveal look and technology of 2017 Polo R WRC

2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC (illustration)

With the introduction of new World Rally Championship (WRC) technical regulations for 2017, the championship-winning Polo R WRC may age about to get even more dominant. The FIA Motor Sport Council want to make the next generation of rally cars faster, wider, more aggressive in appearance, but safer, too. The new, more powerful machines will debut next year.

380bhp, enlarged air restrictor
Volkswagen Motorsport has released this teaser image of how the new-for-2017 Polo R WRC could look (the final appearance may differ) as well as a few technical details about its new rally challenger. The 2017 Polo WRC will have around 380bhp (280kW) – up from today’s 318bhp – thanks to the enlargement of the engine’s air restrictor from 33mm to 36mm.

An electronically controlled centre differential will make a return on next year’s cars, while boost pressure will run at a maximum of 2.5 bar. The minimum length of the new cars is now 3,900 millimetres, while the minimum weight is reduced from 1,200 to 1,175 kilograms, around 25kg lighter than the current Polo R WRC.

More aerodynamic freedom
The 2017 Polo R WRC will draw upon the aggressive look of its two previous generations, and be even wilder. The FIA’s new regulations allow for more aerodynamic freedom and a ‘free zone defined around the body shell of the production car’ to create a maximum width of 1,875mm. The third-generation Polo R WRC is 50mm wider than its predecessors.

The most visually striking changes are the larger rear wing and broader front spoiler. The car in the illustration released by Volkswagen Motorsport also gets bumper air scoops in the style of VW’s all-electric ‘e’ models. The new regulations also allow for greater overhang front and rear: ‘[There is] greater freedom on the lateral parts of the front bumper, with potential for additional aero devices ahead of the front wheels.’ The larger rear wing will aid downforce.

‘Crucial phase’
Volkswagen Motorsport has been developing the next-generation Polo rally car since summer 2015, with key components having been tested in the current car’s chassis at locations in Europe, most notably the south of France. The Hannover-based outfit says that testing is now entering ‘a crucial phase’. We also believe it to be the final phase of development.

Outgoing Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito said: ‘‘The 2017 WRC regulations include many spectacular technical innovations for the World Rally Championship. The World Rally cars of the future will incorporate all the experience that teams have gained in recent years.

‘They will be considerably more dynamic, while at the same time being safer. As usual, we are working painstakingly on the development of the next generation of the Polo R WRC. The key between now and the start of next season is to achieve the best possible prerequisites to allow the 2017 Polo R WRC to be as successful as its two predecessors.’

No pressure then.

Volkswagen Motorsport currently tops the standings in all of the classifications in this year’s World Rally Championship, having won the first three rallies of the season. The team from Wolfsburg’s next outing is the fourth WRC round of the year – the Rally Argentina (21-24 April 2016). It can only hope the 2017 Polo R WRC continues the championship-winning tradition.

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