Though it won’t be seen on WRC stages in 2018, Volkswagen has revealed its new Polo GTI R5 rally car.
The Polo GTI R5 is set to be run by Volkswagen Motorsports’ customer base, with VW expecting it to be a strong performer based on the experience it has gained in building WRC cars for the likes of current world champ Sébastien Ogier.
Its turbocharged 1.6-litre inline four produces 200kW/400Nm, and allows the 1320kg rally car to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds.
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“A close-stepped, sequential, five-speed racing gearbox and permanent four-wheel drive achieve outstanding acceleration on any surface, whether asphalt, gravel or snow,” Volkswagen Motorsport says.
Built in Pamplona, Spain, the R5 is based on a four-door steel chassis, with a roll cage and other safety components to pass FIA standards.
The GTI R5 was primarily devised by VW Motorsport technical director François-Xavier Demaison and project manager Jan de Jongh, who were in charge of Ogier’s Polo R WRC from 2013 to 2016.
“The Polo GTI R5 came through the initial tests without any problems. The feedback from the test drivers was very positive,” says Demaison.
“It is obviously beneficial to be able to call upon an experienced team of engineers and mechanics, who helped to develop the Polo that won the world championship.”
VW Motorsport director Sven Smeets adds that the R5 has a lot to prove, but for now VW can be happy with what it has created.
“Presenting the new Polo GTI R5 to the public was a magnificent moment,” says Smeets.
“The close relationship to the road-going Polo GTI is unmistakable. In the rally Polo, the GTI family has another spectacular ambassador.
“Our team and the colleagues at Volkswagen Design in Wolfsburg deserve great credit for this.
“Over the coming months, the Polo GTI R5 must prove itself in a series of tough scenarios, in order to ensure that it can build on the success of its predecessor in the customers’ hands.”