Volkswagen ends over five decades of racing to focus on electric cars
Volkswagen quietly announced it’s sending its racing division towards the automotive dust bin in order to allocate more time, money, and personnel to the development of planet. Its decision affects several programs, including the ID.R and customer racing efforts, however it does not necessarily mean that its sister companies (like Audi) stop racing.
“The Volkswagen brand is on its way to becoming the key provider of sustainable e-mobility. As a result, we're pooling our strengths, and we have decided to terminate the Volkswagen brand’s motorsport activities,” said Frank Welsch, the head from the company’s development efforts, inside a statement.
Seeing a wide-bodied Polo crest a hill a foot off the floor is unforgettable, but racing flies into the teeth of Volkswagen’s electrification efforts. It’s expensive, so it’s difficult for executives to continue funding it while simultaneously investing approximately $86 billion in to the growth and development of electric technologies by 2025. On the secondary but perhaps more lasting level, it’s difficult to hear the incessant “our future is electric” mantra over the sound of a high-octane rally car, such as the ones Volkswagen has built for that World Rally Championship (WRC).
Racing has gone out, then, and electric production cars are in. Even the battery-powered ID.R (pictured above) will whir into the pits during the last time after setting records on Pikes Peak and also at the Nürburgring, among other venues.
Volkswagen pledged none of its employees will lose their job due to its decision. 169 people work at its Motorsport division’s headquarters in Hanover, Germany. They'll be offered a situation at the carmaker’s global headquarters in nearby Wolfsburg in the coming months, based on the firm. Welsch noted the knowledge gained in the ID.R project – including lessons inside a battery’s power density – will permeate future road cars.
Enthusiasts will still be able to purchase spares for recent factory-built race cars, such as the Polo GTI R5 and also the Golf GTI TCR. Production of the Polo GTI R5, the firm’s last racing model, will end in the coming weeks.
Volkswagen’s decision is really a significant blow to fans around the world, and also to event organizers on all levels of the racing hierarchy, but the bright side would be that the other companies of the Wolfsburg-based group plan to keep competing in the future years – for now at least. Audi quit DTM and the World Endurance Championship (WEC) to sign up in Formula E, but it’s leaving that series after the 2021 season in order to take a chance at the grueling Dakar Rally. Porsche also quit the WEC after dominating it for years, also it currently races in Formula E.
Performance isn’t completely dead inside the carmaker, however. The eighth-generation GTI and subsequently Golf R will both land in American showrooms as 2022 models, and hot-rodded electric cars are in the pipeline as well.