Volkswagen has been part of the World Rally Championships for a while now and after having won the competition four years in a row, the company announced that it will no longer be competing in the championship which took us by surprise, but now, it’s back, only not as a contender. Volkswagen has settled a Polo GTI R5 client car to run in the WRC2 category. In the second half of 2018, Volkswagen will make the 266bhp rally version of the Polo available to professional teams and aspiring drivers to enable them to compete in championships across the globe – including the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The company has released a sketch of the car which is based on the new Polo of the sixth generation.
“With the Polo GTI R5 we are hopeful to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to client racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the Polo GTI R5 to difficult testing to make sure it is ready for the extremely varied track conditions around the world.”
The development of the Polo GTI R5 has been on going from earlier this year and initial test drives planned for this year. Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director Francois-Xavier Demaison, father of the record winning Polo R WRC, is responsible for the expansion of the Polo GTI R5. And Gerard-Jan de Jongh also brings all his expertise as the senior project engineer. The Dutchman was previously Sébastien Ogier’s race engineer.
Like the production model – which is due to be launched at the end of this year – the Polo GTI R5 has a powerful four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection. Other features include four-wheel drive, a sequential five-speed racing transmission and a comprehensive safety package, which are the most important features of the R5 category brought into being by the international Automobile Association, the FIA, in 2012. This gives privateers, teams and importers the opportunity to contest national, regional and international championships with cost-effective, powerful rally cars.