In 2013 Volkswagen will start contesting the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with the Polo R WRC. After three consecutive victories at the Dakar Rally, the car manufacturer has set itself new aims in top-calibre sport. With three car corporations currently involved in the championship and global media coverage, the WRC offers an attractive, highly competitive environment for Volkswagen. Volkswagen will prepare and enter the Polo R WRC as a factory commitment. In doing so, the Wolfsburg-based squad can build on structures which have been established over the past few years.
Activities for the 2013 World Rally Championship have already begun at Volkswagen. Work on the vehicle concept design for the Polo R WRC started as early as in February. The preparation of the first chassis is planned to commence this year as well. Before in-depth trials of the vehicle start with an extensive testing programme in 2012, the team will have the chance to gather initial experiences in the World Rally Championship in 2011. At the end of the season entries of vehicles of the Volkswagen Group’s Škoda brand are planned at selected rally events.
Thanks to the Technical Regulations that have been revised in 2011 the WRC offers optimum prerequisites for the fielding of the Polo. The new set of rules prescribes 1.6-litre turbo engines with direct injection, in line with the trend to downsize engines – a discipline in which Volkswagen has been a pioneer with small-volume, turbo charged, and thus highly efficient, powertrains. The centrepiece of the Volkswagen Polo R WRC will be a 1.6-litre TSI engine with direct injection and turbocharging that will achieve a power output of about 300 hp and a maximum torque of about 350 Newton metres. In accordance with the regulations the four-cylinder powerplant will have its air intake reduced by a 33-millimetre air restrictor at high engine speeds. The new engine regulations introduced in 2011 thus fit the Volkswagen philosophy of clever downsizing for high efficiency while delivering sporty performance to a T.
To transmit the engine’s power to the wheels a sequential gearbox is planned. In addition, the Polo R WRC will naturally be fitted with a safety cage, four-wheel drive and, last but not least, an aerodynamically optimised exterior. According to the regulations the minimum dry weight will be 1,200 kilograms. In the World Rally Championship the technical concept of a world rally car has to be based on the body shell of a production vehicle.