Volkswagen Motorsport, the works rally team of German carmaker Volkswagen, is introducing its latest race car that is derived from the latest generation of the VW Polo GTI. Developed in collaboration with Skoda, the new 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 has taken off its virtual cloaks and has presented itself as the carmaker’s newest four-wheel drive rally car for customer sports.
According to VW Motorsport, the new Polo GTI R5 rally sports car was developed while employing its experience and expertise acquired in the process of winning four world titles in the World Rally Championships – considered as the peak of rallying -- from 2013 to 2016.
Since the Polo GTI R5 is derived from the new Polo GTI, these two cars have a number of similarities. For instance, both the new Polo GTI and the Polo GTI R5 are powered by a straight four-cylinder turbo engine employing direct fuel injection and as mounted transversely in front of the front axle. While the engine in the production model has a capacity of 2.0 liters, the mill inside the new rally car has been limited to a capacity of 1.6 liters in adherence to (International Automobile Federation) FIA regulations.
Despite the restricted capacity, the 1.6-liter four-cylinder inside the Polo GTI R5 is tuned to deliver 272 hp (200 kW) of max output and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of peak torque, making it considerably more potent than the 2.0 liter mill, which is engineered to generate up to 200 hp (147 kW) of output and up to 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque.
In addition, the power from the 1.6-liter engine is sent to all four wheels through a close-stepped, sequential, five-speed racing transmission. On the production model, power is sent only to the front wheels via a dual-clutch, six-speed automatic gearbox (a six-speed manual tranny will be available in 2018). In terms of sprint performance, the production Polo GTI could accelerate from nil to 100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds. However, the rally-bound 1,320-kilogram Polo GTI R5 is a lot quicker, as it could complete the sprint in just 4.1 seconds.
The new VW Polo GTI R5 is underpinned by a steel chassis made in Pamplona, Spain. To comply with FIA regulations, this chassis has been strengthened with a role cage as well as other safety components. VW Motorsport will homologate the new Polo GTI R5 in the summer of 2018. With development already in full swing since the start of 2017, the new Polo GTI R5 has already been tested on asphalt and gravel in mid-November in Fontjoncouse, France. Additional ground tests will be conducted in the United Kingdom this December.
VW Motorsport will commence deliveries of the Polo GTI R5 to customer sports teams in the second half of 2018.