AFTER a strong performance in its inaugural season, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team is ready to challenge this year’s driver and manufacturer titles in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC).
In 2015, the team will be on the attack with two Beetle GRC race cars, which debuted in the final races of 2014. This rally-cross car is the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle. Designed and engineered from the outset as a GRC car, it features a sequential six-speed transmission, with a fixed-ratio all-wheel-drive system that features multi-plate limited-slip differentials at the front and rear.
For the 2015 season, the team has chosen to change the engine specification from the car that ran in selected rounds of the 2014 series. In place of that car’s 1.6-liter turbocharged and intercooled TSI four-cylinder engine, there is now a 2.0-liter TSI engine that produces 553 hp and 465 pound-feet of torque, compared to 544 hp and 387 lb-ft for the 2014 car.
Volkswagen believes the extra torque of the larger engine will be important for standing start performance, which is a key element in Global Rally-cross racing, as well as acceleration from slow corners. Another factor is weight equalization for the 1.6-liter engine will be removed in the future, moving the United States series in line with the FIA World Rallycross series.
The car uses an all-around strut-type suspension, with ZF dampers and about 9.5 inches of travel to cope with the rigors of the off-road portion of a rally-cross course. The car has 14-inch diameter front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes, with four-piston aluminum calipers. The 17-inch wheels are shod with 240/640-R17 Yokohama competition tires.
The Beetle is highly distinctive, thanks to its outsize rear wing, wide-body fenders, and aggressive front fascia. Overall, the car is 168.8 inches long and 71.7 inches wide, and weighs in at 2,866 pounds. With this combination of low weight, high horsepower, and all-wheel-drive, the Beetle GRC is predicted to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in around 2.0 seconds.
Scott Speed will be returning to the team after recording three victories in the 2014 season and earning third in the 2014 driver’s championship. Prior to rally cross, Speed competed in Formula 1 in 2006 and 2007, and NASCAR between 2008 and 2013.
The 2014 GRC fan favorite Tanner Foust will again be racing the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle GRC. Foust, GRC champion in 2011 and 2012 and runner-up in 2013, is also widely recognized for his rally driving skills, stunt driving, and hosting the US version of Top Gear.
“We are very much looking forward to the start of the GRC season with the Beetle,” said Jost Capito, Motorsport Director, Volkswagen. “The 2015 Beetle GRC has been further developed, based on all our experience we gained with the brand new Beetle last year. We are looking forward to a serious title challenge with Scott Speed and Tanner Foust in 2015 and we are sure that the Beetles will be real fan favorites again.”
The 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship schedule is the largest to date, featuring races at eight unique tracks with double headers at select venues: May 31, Ft Lauderdale, Florida; June 20-21, Daytona, Florida; July 5, United States Military Base; July 25-26, Detroit, Michigan; August 15, Washington, DC; September 12-13, Los Angeles, California; October 3-4, Barbados; and November 4, Las Vegas, Nevada.