Volkswagen Motorsport at the Essen Motor Show
In 2009 Volkswagen again features wide-ranging motorsport programme
When the Dakar Rally starts in Buenos Aires on 3 January 2009 with four Volkswagen Race Touareg vehicles it will also give the starting signal for a wide-ranging Volkswagen motorsport programme next year. In 2009 the brand will extend its activities in Formula 3 and start competing in Great Britain as well. In addition, a Scirocco Cup will be launched in China. Two weeks after its unveiling in China the new competition vehicle -- alongside the Race Touareg 2 for the "Dakar", the Scirocco GT24 that was victorious in the 24 Hours at the Nurburgring and the Formula 3 racing car "powered by Volkswagen" -- will be showcased on the Volkswagen stand at the traditional Essen Motor Show (29 November to 07 December).
Besides cross-country rally racing, Formula 3 and the Scirocco Cup in China, Volkswagen Motorsport again plans to enter the Scirocco GT24 in the 24-Hour Race at the Nurburgring. In addition, the commitment encompasses the promotion of young talent in Germany with the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup and the ADAC Formula Masters powered by Volkswagen, the fielding of the Baja Race Touareg TDI in the USA as well as further one-make cups in various countries.
"Volkswagen can look back on a successful 2008 season in motorsport and can already look forward to a varied year of 2009," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "From junior projects for rookies in formula or touring car racing, professional commitments like the Formula 3 engine programme, all the way to top-calibre sport in cross-country and off-road rally racing as well as at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring Volkswagen will again prove its motorsport expertise in 2009. There is hardly another manufacturer who has such a wide and varied offering for junior drivers, customer teams and professional racers as Volkswagen had in 2008."
Volkswagen with many different exploits in the 2008 season that just ended
In the season that just ended Volkswagen Motorsport delivered a convincing performance with numerous different exploits. The highlights: with the Race Touareg the brand achieved two second places with three starts, five further podium positions and 18 of 22 possible stage victories. At the Scirocco's racing debut, which preceded the sport coupe's market launch, Volkswagen celebrated a one-two class victory in the 24-Hour Race at the Nurburgring.
In the first full Formula 3 season Edoardo Mortara (I) and the Signature team immediately clinched the "vice champion's" title in the drivers and teams standings in the Formula 3 Euro Series; three victories and 13 podium positions went to the two-litre engine from the Volkswagen Group. At the world finale in Macau (CH) in November Mortara was victorious in the sprint race and finished the main race as the runner-up. The Formula 3 tally is complemented by two wins and a total of nine podium positions achieved by Laurens Vanthoor (B/Van Amersfoort Racing) in the German ATS Formula 3 Cup.
Dakar Rally's first round in South America: new year kicks off with season's highlight
By tackling the 2009 Dakar Rally Volkswagen takes up one of the biggest challenges motorsport has to offer. The world's longest rally is also considered the most demanding one. At its debut in Argentina and Chile four 280-hp diesel-powered prototypes of the brand will cross the starting ramp of this acid test, which in 2009 - more than at any previous edition - will be marked by the "Dakar" principle, "Expect the Unexpected". In addition to extremely rough terrain, the Volkswagen pairings Carlos Sainz/Michel Perin (E/F), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) will have to master challenges like extreme altitudes, the world's most arid desert and endless sand dunes during the cross-country marathon covering 9,578 kilometres, 5,656 of which are timed. Kris Nissen: "Our goal has not changed, we continue shooting for the first overall diesel victory in 'Dakar' history."
Complementing its cross-country rally activities, Volkswagen contests select events in the SCORE off-road series. Following the successful debut of the Baja Race Touareg TDI - a vehicle that fundamentally differs from the Race Touareg for the "Dakar" and is fitted with a 550-hp TDI engine from the Volkswagen Group featuring a Clean Diesel concept - in November 2008, the 2009 programme includes the brand's participation with two vehicles in the world famous Baja 500 and Baja 1000 off-road events.
Formula 3 "powered by Volkswagen" to compete in Great Britain as well
The high level of confidence which Formula 3 teams have in Volkswagen technology - not least due to the quick exploits achieved - is documented by the great interest they show in contesting the 2009 season "powered by Volkswagen". In 2009 Volkswagen Motorsport's commitment will involve three series: the Formula 3 Euro Series, the ATS Formula 3 Cup in Germany as well as - for the first time - the British Formula 3 Championship. In the United Kingdom, a total of six vehicles will start from the grid with Volkswagen engines, two of them to be fielded by the T-Sport team. In the Euro Series the Signature partner team will enter three vehicles powered by the 210-hp Volkswagen engine, the newly formed Kolles & Heinz Union team will run two vehicles in the races and a third team will field two vehicles as well. In the German Formula 3 Cup the Performance Power team will join Van Amersfoort Racing as an additional member of the Volkswagen family.
Another successful junior programme will start to its second round in 2009: the ADAC Formula Masters "powered by Volkswagen". The inaugural season of the series featuring identical cars to which Volkwagen supplies a 1.6-l four-cylinder FSI engine that immediately delivered convincing reliability was won by the Portuguese Armando Parente.
Diverse offering for young international touring car drivers
The "touring car school" success formula will enter its twelfth season in 2009. The ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup will again be staged as the DTM's partner series in nine races at seven events. 27 drivers from seven nations who have successfully completed the evaluation programme of the one-make cup for rookies will start from the grid in 150-hp Racing Polo cars that are centrally fielded. In 2008 the cup concept proved to be a resounding export success. The Jetta TDI Cup was the first American one-make cup to establish Clean Diesel technology in motorsport and in a sporting sense, as well, the new cup turned into a guaranteed success, as confirmed by over 1,700 applications for the 2009 season.
Debut in China: Cup Scirocco with 200 hp
2009 will see a further expansion of the talent promotion programme that is marked by utmost equality of opportunity. In China, centrally entered Scirocco cars developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in Germany will be used in a one-make cup for the first time. The 200-hp touring car fitted with a 2.0-litre TSI engine was unveiled at the Guangzhou International Motor Show following initial tests at Oschersleben. 30 vehicles are being built as a mini-series for contesting six races in China.
This enhances Volkswagen Motorsport's "international student exchange" by yet another attraction. In addition to the one-make cups in China and Germany, the championships in Japan, South Africa and the USA participate in the programme which offers the best young touring car drivers the chance of gathering worldwide racing experience. Kris Nissen: "This student exchange is unique in its form and documents Volkswagen's global promotion of young talent in a special way. No doubt, this is always a plum experience for the drivers."
Touring car highlight: the Scirocco on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife
The Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 made a successful debut in 2008. The 330-hp touring car celebrated its premiere at the legendary 24-Hour Race on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife even before the official presentation of its road-going counterpart. And it was a successful maiden race at that. In the ultra-competitive SP3T class for 2-litre touring cars the Scirocco GT24 immediately clinched a one-two victory. The three factory-entered and factory-prepared vehicles saw the chequered flag at this circuit endurance race in first, second and fifth place in class. In the overall classification the best Scirocco with drivers Jimmy Johannson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Thomas Mutsch (D) and Hans-Joachim Stuck (D) finished the classic in a strong eleventh place - surrounded by more powerful GT sports cars. In 2009 the GT24 will return to the venue of its first ever exploit. Volkswagen will again contest the race with the car that became a favourite with the audience.