Following their ever-growing commitment to electrified road cars, Volkswagen have now announced that they are moving their motorsport strategy in the same direction. Placing an emphasis on fully electric racing cars, the move will see Volkswagen bid farewell to a number of motorsports that use internal combustion engines.
One of the key drivers behind the announcement is that Volkswagen see far more development potential in the world of e-motorsport than they do more traditional motorsports that they’ve competed in for years. Making this claim at the end of a year where their ID R all-electric racing car has broken records at some of the world’s most challenging locations, who can argue with them?
When talking of their decision, Volkswagen were quick to mention that the recently released Polo GTI R5 rally car will remain an integral part of their Volkswagen Motorsport offering and that they will still support customers when it comes to parts. What you won’t see at the World Rally Championship (WRC), however, is a Volkswagen factory-backed team; at least until Rallycross and WRC go electric.
Then there’s the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR touring car. Where World Touring Car fans had probably expected to see an updated version appear with the release of the new MK8 Golf, production will now cease in 2019. That means that, unless touring cars become electric in the very near future, we won’t see a TCR variant of the new Golf. As with their WRC offering, Volkswagen have said that they’ll offer parts support to those teams running the current Golf GTI TCR.
Possibly more likely than a MK8 Golf GTI TCR, however, is an eTCR variant of their much anticipated ID 3 electric car (not confirmed. Pure conjecture on our part!). eTCR (or ‘Electric Touring Car Racing’) is an upcoming motorsport series that will feature all-electric touring cars from a number of manufacturers; CUPRA have already unveiled their own eTCR racing car.
With a greater emphasis placed on electric racing cars over the coming years, Volkswagen will be able to experiment with and implement technologies that can filter into future road cars. The various racing cars could also form a platform with direct relationships to future performance electric cars, like a GTI variant of the ID 3. Exciting.
Following their success with the phenomenal ID R racing car, it’s hard not to get a bit excited about what Volkswagen Motorsport’s new electric car commitment could mean when it comes to the brand’s future road cars. What do you think of this recent announcement? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.