The Volkswagen Beetle will enter motorsports in the US this summer with a Rallycross Beetle featuring all-wheel-drive and a TSI engine that delivers more than 560bhp.
Volkswagen is partnering with Andretti Autosport to form the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, and is running two cars in the series for drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
The team will initially compete this season with modified Polo rally cars, built on the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship for drivers and manufacturers. VW will switch during the season to the GRC Beetle shown at the Chicago Auto Show.
This all-wheel-drive rallycross car is the ‘ultimate’ expression of the third-generation Beetle and will feature more than 560bhp from its turbocharged and direct-injection TSI engine.
The true derivation of the engine appears to be a mystery, however. According to VW sources in Wolfsburg, the engine is based on the company’s 2-litre, single turbocharged TSI engine, available in the Golf R and Audi A3 with a 300PS rating. The 560bhp version is a US modified engine that has not have been subjected to the full range of durability testing to which VW engineers in Wolfsburg subject their engines.
As to the cylinder block, sources at Volkswagen of America and ‘not sure’ of the material as the engine was not developed in the US but by Volkswagen Motorsport in Hanover. Their understanding is the cylinder block is taken from VW's current 2-litre diesel engine.
Meanwhile, VW claims rallycross to be the fastest growing form of motorsports in the US, attracting large crowds at venues across the country as well as live TV coverage.
Cars are pitted against each other and the clock in a series of heats on a closed course that’s usually a mixture of dirt and pavement, with jumps of 20 metres and more.
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