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.
From: Road & Track
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