Volkswagen race cars

Volkswagen race cars DEFAULT

The Volkswagen Group is in the midst of a huge shakeup, cutting costs and shifting a huge amount of investment over to electric vehicles as part of its Dieselgate settlement commitments. That means big changes in motorsports: Today, the Volkswagen brand announced it's giving up racing altogether.

It's not entirely surprising. Last year, VW said it would end all non-electric motorsports programs, halting production of the Mk7 Golf GTI TCR race car and canceling development of a successor based on the Mk8 GTI. All that was left was the electric ID.R prototype, which was built to set lap records at various tracks around the world, and technical support for customer rally cars. Now, the 169 employees of VW's motorsports programs will be integrated into the automaker's road-car division to aid in the development of EVs.

Production of the Polo GTI R5 rally car will end this month, though VW said in a statement that a long-term supply of parts for both Polo and Golf GTI race cars is "secure." So, you'll probably see Volkswagens involved in high-level racing for at least a few more years. And there's nothing stopping privateers from building their own VW-based race cars, though that's a difficult proposition compared to when you could buy a race-prepped car directly from the automaker.

The news comes on the heels of Audi's announcement yesterday that it's dropping Formula E in favor of prototype sports-car racing and the Dakar rally. So, there will still be motorsports participation within the giant VW Group, but not from Volkswagen the brand.

It seems there weren't enough EV racing opportunities for VW, with Porsche and Audi in Formula E (though not much longer for Audi), and Seat's performance spinoff Cupra prepping for the new eTCR touring car series. So for now at least, it's the end of the road for Volkwagen-branded race cars.

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The models racing in various motorsports series have moved too far away from production cars. Take NASCAR, which has become a personality show performed with nearly identical tube-frame cars—even if the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 racer is a step in the right direction—or Germany’s DTM, which has moved from a colorful lineup of production-based cars to a contest of largely standardized purpose-built racers. No wonder some racing organizers are looking for remedies. One is the TCR series, conceived by former World Touring Car Championship boss Marcello Lotti and launched in 2015 with the objective of keeping costs down and the race cars close to their series-production counterparts while ensuring a competitive field throughout the season.

Yes, there are some questionable quirks in the TCR series: Winners early in the season can be handicapped with weight penalties (charmingly called “success ballast”), so the races are about tactics as much as speed. But generally, the series has been well received by viewers, racers, and the industry. The Volkswagen Group has gone all in, with the Golf GTI TCR, the Audi RS3 LMS, and the SEAT León Cup Racer TCR all competing. On January 26, the Golf GTI TCR made its debut in North America in a support race leading up to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. It didn’t win—that honor was taken by Tom Long and Britt Casey Jr. in an RS3 LMS—but it marked an important entrance for VW as the embattled brand moves more forcefully into customer racing.

We had the chance to get behind the wheel of a GTI TCR at the Vallelunga racetrack northeast of Rome, Italy. It’s a true race car, but it is very clearly based on an actual vehicle that people can buy. It’s roughly six inches wider than a stock GTI thanks to huge fender flares, and the modifications for the racetrack also include an adjustable rear wing and aggressive front and rear bumpers. Still, this is an actual GTI, not a generic plastic shell with VW stickers.

The interior is bereft of décor and sound deadening, but the dashboard retains a semblance of the production GTI’s. The handbrake’s protruding handle conveniently rises to a position next to the steering wheel. The gear selector looks familiar, and it directs VW’s familiar seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. The DSG is a curiously unpopular choice among GTI TCR customers, who prefer the also available six-speed sequential racing gearbox by a huge margin, even though the sequential box raises the price by 20,000 euros and is far more prone to damage by mistreatment.

The driving position is familiar and provides for a good idea of the whereabouts of this GTI’s four corners. The racing seat pairs with a five-point harness and head protectors, and there also is an FIA-approved roll cage to minimize the risk of injury in the event of a collision.

The turbocharged, port- and direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-four fires up with a loud bellow and immediately settles into a dark-sounding steady idle. Force-fed by a single turbo, it serves up 350 horsepower at 6200 rpm; maximum torque is 310 lb-ft at a low 2500 rpm. (That’s 130 horsepower and 52 lb-ft more than a standard GTI.) It has to propel a mere 2833 pounds, which is the minimum required by TCR regulations.

The EA888 engine revs with a vengeance, and its guttural sound makes it feel even more powerful than it is. The sprint from zero to 62 mph takes a claimed 5.2 seconds, and the GTI TCR tops out at 160 mph. That’s not supercar territory, but it’s fast enough for plenty of excitement on the track. Professional racers may find the low torque peak unusual; it invites the driver to stay in taller gears instead of revving to the max.

The modified rack-and-pinion steering is ultraprecise, and turn-in is immediate. On cold days, as when we were at Vallelunga, the biggest danger comes from the rear tires. Given that the engine’s torque is transmitted only to the front wheels, the rear tires carry a lighter workload and consequently stay relatively cold, keeping grip at low levels. That can become a problem when setting up for tighter corners, when load transfer makes the tail come around in a hurry. At higher speeds, on the other hand, the tail remains firmly planted, thanks in part to the large, adjustable rear wing.

We ran two laps behind racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck to get a feel for the track, and then VW let us loose. Like virtually every race car, the Golf GTI TCR is addictive, and we could have driven for hours in the quest for the perfectly executed lap.

At about $110,000 to start, the Golf GTI TCR is surprisingly accessible for a brand-new racing car, and we are told it is possible to run a season for around $185K. That’s not bad at all for a factory-built, turnkey solution, and it’s made all the more possible by the fact that 65 percent of the car’s parts are carried over from the regular GTI.

Beyond the VW Group entries, the TCR series’ field of homologated cars includes the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Ford Focus, Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai i30 N, Kia Cee’d, Lada Vesta, Opel Astra, Peugeot 308, Renault Mégane, and Subaru WRX STI. They are all front-wheel-drive four-door sedans or hatchbacks powered by turbocharged engines of up to 2.0 liters. And all are recognizable relatives to the cars ordinary people drive every day. We love all forms of racing—and especially those that are this relatable.

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Volkswagen Motorsport

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This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(June 2021)

Auto racing factory team by Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Motorsport was a works rally team of the German car manufacturer Volkswagen, whom competed in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and Dakar Rally.

The team started competing in WRC in 1978 and used different specs of Volkswagen Golfs before leaving the sport in 1990. Volkswagen competed at the Dakar Rally from 2003 to 2011, claiming three overall wins. The team made its WRC comeback in 2011 Rally Finland with a pair of Škoda Fabia S2000s, and competed with the Volkswagen Polo R WRC from the start of the 2013 World Rally Championship season to the end of the 2016 World Rally Championship season.

At the end of the 2016 season, Volkswagen Motorsport decided to withdraw from the FIA World Rally Championship.[1]


Dakar (2003–2011)[edit]

In 2003, Volkswagen entered the Tarek 2WD buggy at the Dakar Rally, with Stéphane Henrard placing 6th outright. The Race Touareg 1 was introduced in 2004, when Bruno Saby finished 6th. In 2005, Jutta Kleinschmidt finished in 3rd overall. With the Race Touareg 2, Giniel de Villiers finished in 2nd place overall in 2006. In 2007, Mark Miller finished 4th overall. Volkswagen won the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Dakar Rally, the latter with the Race Touareg 3, with drivers De Villiers, Carlos Sainz and Nasser Al-Attiyah.


In 2011 Volkswagen competed with seven different drivers in four rallies (Rally Finland, Rallye Deutschland, Rally Catalunya and Wales Rally GB). German Christian Riedemann was the only driver competing in two rallies.

In November 2011, the team revealed they have made a multi-year contract with the French rally star Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia.

For 2012 season, Volkswagen Motorsport continued developing their Polo R World Rally Car and they also completed a full WRC-campaign (except New Zealand) with a pair of Škoda Fabias. Sébastien Ogier drove it in every round of the campaign, while the second car was shared between Andreas Mikkelsen and Kevin Abbring. The team had a third car in their home rally Germany driven by Sepp Wiegand.

The season included some highlights, including Sébastien Ogier's unexpected special stage win in Sardinia. Ogier's fifth place in Sardinia also remains the best ever overall finish for a S2000 car in World Rally Championship.[2]

In October, Volkswagen Motorsport announced that they have signed Jari-Matti Latvala with his co-driver Miikka Anttila to join Ogier and Ingrassia to drive Volkswagen Polo R WRC for 2013 season.[3]


Volkswagen Motorsport entered as a fully-fledged manufacturer team in 2013. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala started the season, whilst Andreas Mikkelsen joined the championship at the fourth round in Portugal. Mikkelsen and his new co-driver Mikko Markkula were registered under a second manufacturer team, known as “Volkswagen Motorsport II” so as to give them as much time as possible testing the Polo R WRC.[4]

The 2013 season started with Rallye Monte-Carlo. Volkswagen entered the rally with two cars, Latvala/Anttila and Ogier/Ingrassia. Ogier started their campaign with a dream start by winning the very first stage of the season, and the first of Volkswagen Polo R WRC.[5] Ogier won one more stage and finished the rally in second place, nearly two minutes behind the winner Sébastien Loeb. Jari-Matti Latvala's rally ended in last evening of the rally when he hit the wall in slippery conditions.

The team took its first WRC victory in their second rally with the World Rally Car, when Sébastien Ogier dominated the Rally Sweden being fastest in half of the stages of the rally.[6] Jari-Matti Latvala finished fourth, and also scored his first stage win with the team.

Ogier continued his dominance at the next event in Rally Mexico, giving the team its second victory in a row. Ogier won 16 out of 23 stages and lead the rally from the second stage till the finish. Latvala hit a rock in SS2 and after restarting in Day 2 he eventually finished outside of the points. That meant Volkswagen was still 6 points behind Citroën in Manufacturers' standings before moving on to Rally de Portugal.[7]



This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2015)



This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2015)



This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2016)

2016 would turn out to be another successful year for the team; as they collected their fourth consecutive manufacturers’ championship, and Sébastien Ogier claimed his fourth consecutive drivers’ championship.

Just days after the 2016 Wales Rally GB, Volkswagen announced that they would be pulling out of the WRC at the end of the 2016 season. This came as a surprise to many fans and journalists, as the team and their drivers had already been conducting major development and testing work on the new 2017 Polo, based on the new generation WRC cars. Although no direct reason was given for the teams’ withdrawal, it was widely speculated to be a result of Volkswagen’s recent emissions scandal.


Volkswagen Motorsport is scheduled to make a return to the World Rally Championship with an R5 version of the Volkswagen Polo GTI. The car will make its debut at the 2018 Rally Catalunya, with entries for both Petter Solberg and Eric Camilli.[8]


In November 2019, Volkswagen announced that, consistent with its shift in focus to emphasize the manufacturing of electric vehicles, it would end all motorsport programmes that do not involve electric vehicles.[9]

Complete WRC results[edit]

Main article: Volkswagen World Rally Championship results

WRC victories[edit]

Dakar Rally results[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

VW Beetle Drag Racing Compilation

Volkswagen quits motorsport to focus on electric cars, racing division to be dissolved

Volkswagen announced Tuesday it is ending all motorsport activities. The announcement comes just a year after the automaker committed to an electric motorport future, highlighting how quickly things are changing in the auto industry.

The automaker said it made the decision to place full focus on its goal of delivering sustainable electric mobility.

“The Volkswagen brand is on the way to becoming the leading provider for sustainable e-mobility,” Frank Welsch, VW's head of development, said in a statement. “To this end, we are pooling our strengths and have decided to terminate the Volkswagen brand’s own motorsport activities.”

Volkswagen Race Touareg 3

Volkswagen Race Touareg 3

As a result of the decision, the current Volkswagen Motorsport division will be disbanded and its staff—169 in total—reassigned. Don't be surprised if many of the staff end up at fellow Volkswagen Group brands Audi and Porsche which still have major motorsport programs.

Audi only on Monday said it will enter the Dakar Rally in 2022, and is preparing an entry for the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) top category for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship.

VW has a motorsport history dating back more than half a century, starting with the heyday of Formula Vee in the 1960s and '70s. The brand’s greatest achievements include three-consecutive Dakar Rally wins from 2009-2011 and four-consecutive World Rally Championship titles from 2013-2016. More recently, VW's motorsport squad has been building customer race cars based on the Polo and Golf, and demonstrating electric performance with the ID.R time-attack special.


Cars volkswagen race

Volkswagen Motorsports:
Over 50 Years of Fast

Over a half-century in, U.S. and European Volkswagen Motorsports show no sign of slowing down.

It seems as though that ever since the invention of the automobile, people have wanted to race — to test the limits of both car and human. In fact, the history of motorsports, or racing two- or four-wheeled vehicles, stretches back over a century. Today, there are different classifications of motorsports, some off-road and some on-road, and different types of vehicles, too.

Any racing fan can probably tell you: Volkswagen—with Scott Speed, Tanner Foust and the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team—has built quite a reputation in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series. Rallycross combines the best elements of motocross and traditional circuit racing, with production-based cars racing over tarmac, dirt and a 70-foot jump, all on a closed course. In 2015, the team’s second year of participation—and the first full season running the 560-hp Beetle GRC—Scott Speed and teammate Tanner Foust finished first and third respectively in the standings. In 2016, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross followed up their 2015 result with another Driver’s Championship for Speed and an inaugural Manufacturer’s Championship for VW. Tanner Foust won four races in the 2016 season and earned a second place finish just behind his teammate, marking a dominant run since the Beetle GRC’s debut. This success for VW racers is nothing new: 2016 actually marks the 50th anniversary of Volkswagen Motorsport in Europe (the U.S. VW racing division is a few years older). Here’s a look back at the first five decades of fast wheels.


1966: Opening up with Open-wheel Racing

The Volkswagen racing division was founded on July 11, 1966, and its original name tells the tale. Known as the European Formula Vee Association, Volkswagen supported an increasingly popular open-wheel racing series introduced in the United States. What made the series so popular was the affordability of entry, and a big part of that came from the cars using key hardware from the Volkswagen Beetle. Yet while the cost of entry was low, the level of competition was incredibly high.




A Decade In: Production Cars Take to the Track

Ten years after Formula Vee racing debuted in Europe, Volkswagen Motorsport was ready to broaden opportunities for drivers, this time with the first VW Junior Cup in standard, off-the-production line vehicles. In this race, each car was the same— similarly prepared and lightly modified Volkswagen Scirocco cars — in order to level the racing field for competitors.

Changes in the Volkswagen production lineup, including different engines and fuel sources, led to changes to its one-car race series; smaller dynamic European entries like the Polo and Lupo also had runs. For 2016, the automaker unveiled the Volkswagen GTI TCR, which has been amped up to 330 horsepower for the international touring car series in Europe.



Through the Years: Rallying to the Cause

It’s the same story in rallying, where instead of events being held on short courses with built-in ramps and car-to-car action; professional drivers race the clock in multi-day, multi-stage competitions, some of which can span thousands of miles. In those grueling tests, Volkswagen has notched multiple victories in the transcontinental South American Dakar rallies, capturing its first win in 1980 and three in a row from 2009 to 2011, along with three straight World Rally Championship (WRC) titles.

VW’s winning ways in rallycross—and traditional rallying—may be the most impressive of all. For example, the Volkswagen Red Bull Global Rallycross team is far from the first Volkswagen trophy winner in the sport; Klaus-Joachim Kleint was crowned the unofficial German rallycross king back in 1978 driving a Golf GTI 1600.

Volkswagen Motorsport remains at the top of the game. Even today during its golden anniversary, the WRC winning streak alive and well.

VW Golf GTI TCR Racing Car - Wider Body And More Power

Volkswagen I.D. R

Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak at IAA 2019 IMG 0313.jpg
ConstructorVolkswagen Motorsport
ChassisSafety/crash structure at front, carbon monocoque with steel roll cage
SuspensionDouble wishbone
Length5,219 mm (205.5 in)
Width2,350 mm (92.5 in)
Height979 mm (38.5 in)
Axle track1,600 mm (63.0 in)
Wheelbase2,850 mm (112.2 in)
Electric motorDual motor 1 per axle permanent four-wheel drive with active torque distribution powered by ID.
Power500 kW (680 PS; 671 hp)
Weight<1,100 kg (2,400 lb) incl. driver
BrakesCarbon fibre
TyresBridgestone Potenza 330-40/18
Michelin Pilot Sport GT "SLICK" 31/71-18 S9M (Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak)

The Volkswagen I.D. R also known as Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak, is a prototype fully electric vehicle designed as part of Volkswagen's I.D. Project, and included within Volkswagen's R series of cars designed specifically for competing in motorsport events.[2] It is the first electric racing car designed by Volkswagen.[3]


Following the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2015, the company pulled out of motorsport events such as the World Rally Championship (which they had won every year since 2013), the Dakar Rally (3 straight wins since 2009) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (13 wins with its Audi and Bentley brands in the 15 years prior to 2014).

The Volkswagen I.D. R made its competition début at the Pikes Peak International Hill climb in Colorado Springs, Colorado on 24 June 2018. It was driven by Romain Dumas, and the team set a target of beating the existing electric car record of 8:57.118 minutes, set in 2016 by Rhys Millen with the Drive eO PP100.[4] The I.D. R became the first car to complete the hill climb in under eight minutes (7:57.148), breaking the outright record set by Sébastien Loeb and the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.[5] The average speed during the run was 150.9 km/h (93.8 mph), and 218 km/h (135 mph) through the speed trap.

In 2018 the Dewar Trophy was awarded to Integral Powertrain (the provider of the motors used by Volkswagen) for their electric motors and drivers.[6][7] Previous winners include Keith Duckworth for the Cosworth DFV engine and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains for their Formula 1hybrid powertrain.[6]

On 3 June 2019 the ID.R used 24.7 kWh to break the electric vehicle lap record on the Nürburgring with a time of 6:05.336, cornering at up to 3.49 g.[8] The record time was previously held by the NIO EP9 driven by Peter Dumbreck. Again driven by Dumas, the ID. R reached speeds of 273 km/h (170 mph), for an average of 205.3 km/h (127.6 mph).[9][10] In 2019, the I.D. R set a new record for the Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb clocking in at 39.90, also by Dumas.[11]

On 2 September 2019, Dumas set a benchmark with the Volkswagen ID.R on the 10.906 km (6.777 mi) Shan Big Gate Road on Tianmen Mountain of 7:38.585.[12]

In February 2020, Volkswagen confirmed that a second version of the I.D. R would be built. Named the I.D. R Evo, this version of the car is expected to continue to make record attempts at various tracks and courses around the world, potentially revisiting some benchmarks set by the original I.D. R car.[13] Volkswagen has since announced it would abandon motorsports for their flagship brand, though they continue to support motorsports for their premium brands.

Track times set[edit]

Technical specifications[edit]

The Volkswagen I.D. R features two electric motors, located at each axle, allowing for a combined 507 kW (689 PS; 680 hp) and 649 N⋅m (479 lb⋅ft) of torque.[14][15] The I.D. R weighs under 1,100 kg (2,500 lb) and has a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 2.25 seconds.[2][15] It has a single 45-kWh battery.[16] The Chassis of the car was co-developed by Norma, French sports prototype and hillclimb specialist.[17]

Volkswagen I.D. R at IAA.jpg

In media[edit]


The I.D. R appeared in the fifth episode of season 28 of Top Gear, with host Chris Harris pitting it against a McLaren 720S.[18]

Video games[edit]

The I.D. R made its video game debut as paid downloadable content for V-Rally 4.[19]

RaceRoom Racing Experience partnered with Volkswagen to feature the I.D. R in a time attack challenge on the Nürburgring Nordschleife; the competition ran from 24 April to 24 October of 2019.[20] It would later be featured in the title's 21 December 2020 content update.[21]

Forza Horizon 4 saw the I.D. R join its vehicle roster as part of the Series 14 update.[22]

Real Racing 3 saw I.D. R join the roster as part of the 9.2 update.

The Volkswagen I.D. R was added in the Electric Season Update in Asphalt 9: Legends

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Electric to the max: 56 pages on the ID. R and the electro-mobility strategy from Volkswagen". Volkswagen Newsroom. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  2. ^ ab"Volkswagen unveils fully-electric I.D. R Pikes Peak". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  3. ^Volkswagen News (16 May 2018). "Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak: aerodynamics". YouTube. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  4. ^(PDF). 21 July 2017 Archived from the original(PDF) on 21 July 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  5. ^"Electric Volkswagen smashes Sebastien Loeb's Pikes Peak record". Motorsport Network. 24 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  6. ^ ab"Royal Automobile Club Awards 2018 Dewar Trophy to Integral Powertrain". 31 October 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  7. ^"Integral Powertrain wins Dewar Trophy for Pikes Peak electric motors". November 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  8. ^"VW ID R Nurburgring lap sets efficiency record too". Green Car Reports.
  9. ^"Volkswagen will be trying to get electric car lap record". 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  11. ^Dow, Jameson (5 July 2019). "Volkswagen ID.R breaks 20-year-old Goodwood hillclimb record set by V10 F1 car". Electrek.
  12. ^"Record at "heavens gate" in China".
  13. ^Attwood, James (4 February 2020). "Volkswagen developing upgraded ID R Evo version of record-breaker". Autocar.
  14. ^"VW I.D. R Pikes Peak Is Quicker Than A Formula 1 Car". Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  15. ^ ab"See How The VW I.D. R Pikes Peak Cuts Through Air On Video". Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  16. ^Krok, Andrew. "VW ID R's record-setting Nurburgring run required just 24.7 kWh of battery". Roadshow. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  17. ^Petrány, Máté (23 April 2018). "The 680 HP I.D. R Is What Happens When Porsche and VW Build an EV LMP1 Car for Pikes Peak". Road & Track. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  18. ^Markovich, Tony (24 February 2020). "Watch Chris Harris in the electric VW ID.R waste a McLaren 720S". Autoblog. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  19. ^Patrick, Kyle (15 February 2019). "The Volkswagen I.D. R Makes Its Gaming Debut in V-Rally 4". GTPlanet. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  20. ^Slater, Gary (25 April 2019). "Volkswagen Partners With RaceRoom for ID. R Nurburgring Competition". GTPlanet. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  21. ^Jeffrey, Paul (18 December 2020). "RaceRoom | Audi R8 LMS GT3, Audio Teasers, VW ID.R & More - News Bonanza". RaceDepartment. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  22. ^Dooley, Kevin (26 September 2019). "Forza Horizon 4 update adds McLaren 600 LT & McLaren 720S". Team VVV. Retrieved 12 November 2020.

Now discussing:

Volkswagen ends over five decades of racing to focus on electric cars


Even the electric ID.R is hanging up its helmet

  • ID.R e-record Nordschleife
  • ID.R e-record Nordschleife
  • Volkswagen_ID.R-Large-9941

Volkswagen quietly announced it's sending its racing division to the automotive dust bin in order to allocate more time, money, and personnel to the development of electric cars. Its decision affects several programs, including the ID.R and customer racing efforts, but it does not mean that its sister companies (like Audi) will stop racing.

"The Volkswagen brand is on its way to becoming the leading provider of sustainable e-mobility. To this end, we are pooling our strengths, and we have decided to terminate the Volkswagen brand's motorsport activities," said Frank Welsch, the head of the company's development efforts, in a statement.

Seeing a wide-bodied Polo crest a hill a foot off the ground is unforgettable, but racing flies directly into the teeth of Volkswagen's electrification efforts. It's expensive, so it's difficult for executives to continue funding it while simultaneously investing approximately $86 billion into the development of electric technologies by 2025. On a secondary but perhaps more lasting level, it's difficult to hear the incessant "our future is electric" mantra over the sound of a high-octane rally car, like the ones Volkswagen has built for the World Rally Championship (WRC).

Racing is out, then, and electric production cars are in. Even the battery-powered ID.R (pictured above) will whir into the pits for the last time after setting records on Pikes Peak and at the Nürburgring, among other venues.

Volkswagen pledged none of its employees will lose their job due to its decision. 169 people work at its Motorsport division's headquarters in Hanover, Germany. They will be offered a position at the carmaker's global headquarters in nearby Wolfsburg in the coming months, according to the firm. Welsch noted the knowledge gained from the ID.R project — including lessons in a battery's power density — will permeate future road cars.

Enthusiasts will still be able to purchase spare parts for recent factory-built race cars, including the Polo GTI R5 and the Golf GTI TCR. Production of the Polo GTI R5, the firm's last racing model, will end in the coming weeks.

Volkswagen's decision is a significant blow to fans around the world, and to event organizers on all levels of the racing hierarchy, but the bright side is that the other companies owned by the Wolfsburg-based group plan to keep competing in the coming years — at least for now. Audi quit DTM and the World Endurance Championship (WEC) to participate in Formula E, but it's leaving that series after the 2021 season in order to take a shot at the grueling Dakar Rally. Porsche also quit the WEC after dominating it for years, and it currently races in Formula E.

Performance isn't completely dead within the carmaker, however. The eighth-generation GTI and the next Golf R will both land in American showrooms as 2022 models, and hot-rodded electric cars are in the pipeline as well.


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