Volkswagen’s all-new Polo GTI R5 is scheduled for a World Rally Championship (WRC) debut in the second half of 2018.
The German manufacturer recently released a sketch preview of the new car, which is based on the latest sixth generation Polo, and could be in customer hands from Volkswagen’s home WRC round in Germany.
The car will be available to professional teams and privateer drivers and will be eligible for different championships across the globe – including the World Championship’s premier support category, WRC 2.
With the Polo GTI R5 we are hoping to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to customer racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,” Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets said.
Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the car to rigorous testing to make sure it is prepared for the extremely varied track conditions around the world,” he added.
Development of the car began at the start of 2017, with first test drives planned later this year. The project has been overseen by several individuals responsible for Volkswagen’s dominant title run from 2013 to 2016.
Technical Director François-Xavier “FX” Demaison, designer of the Polo R WRC, heads its development while Sébastien Ogier’s former race engineer, Gerard-Jan de Jongh, is the senior project engineer.
Since pulling its works WRC program at the end of 2016, Volkswagen has focused its motor sports efforts on supporting customer programs instead.