Volkswagen Motorsports has revealed the all-new Polo GTI R5 at a special event in Mallorca, Spain. The rally-spec race-car is based on the new sixth-generation Polo and will undergo homologation next summer before the customer deliveries begin in the second half of 2018.
Powering the track-only Polo is a turbocharged four-cylinder 1.6-litre engine mounted transversely with direct fuel injection. The engine is downsized in accordance with regulations but produces an impressive 268bhp of firepower with 400Nm of twisting force. A close-stepped, sequential, five-speed racing gearbox sends power to the permanent four-wheel drive system. Weighing just 1,320 kilograms, the rally GTI accelerates from zero to 100kmph in just 4.1 seconds.
In accordance with FIA regulations, the race car is strengthened with a roll cage and other safety components. The four-door, steel chassis, which serves as the basis for the assembly, is manufactured at the production plant in Pamplona, Spain. The newly-developed R5 has big shoes to fill since the previous generation race-car won four world titles in WRC between 2013 and 2016. The development team also took some helping inputs from Skoda, which has been battling the Fabia R5 since 2015.
Prices for the customer racing vehicle will apparently be disclosed after the homologation. However, the race car price tag is expected to be 1.8 lakh Euros (approx. Rs 1.4 crores) to ensure a level playing field for privateers trying to compete against the factory teams.
Volkswagen decided to pull out of WRC after winning four championships in 2016. The Polo GTI R5 will be sold to private teams competing in the WRC2 category. You have the Skoda Fabia R5, the Citroen DS3 R5, the Ford Fiesta R5 and the upcoming Proton and Toyota competitors in the fray already. The German carmaker’s motorsport division will provide the privateer teams with the car, spares and other support but not service. The Polo GTI R5 will also be sold to other customers outside the World Rally Championship for customers who would want to participate in the International Touring Car championship, European Rally Car Championship and other events.