Volkswagen may have withdrawn from the World Rally Championship, but it’s not out of motorsports altogether. It still offers a track-tuned Golf GTI for customer racers, which won two championships last year right out of the box. And now it’s back with a revised version.
Built to meet the cost-effective Touring Car Racing regulations, the VW Golf GTI TCR packs a 2.0-liter turbo four into bodywork that’s 6 inches wider than the road-going version.
As you can see, it also features an extensive aero kit, 18-inch racing rims, and a stripped-out cockpit with only the bare essentials required for the track, and none of the creature comforts you’d find on in the street version.
With all the restrictions imposed on the TCR class, there were limits to what VW’s motorsport engineers could do. But for 2017, the GTI generates 350 horsepower with improved delivery. The aerodynamics have been enhanced for less drag, more downforce, and better cooling. The sequential gearbox offers better control, and the electric power steering more boost.
That ought to help Team Leopard Racing, for example, defend the international championship it won last year, and Liqui Moly Team Engstler defend its titles in the Asian series.
VW has sold twenty Golf GTI TCR since introducing it last season, and expects to sell another 30 this year – at €90,000 (plus tax) a pop. And that’s not even including the Audi RS3 LMS and Seat Leon Cupra Evo 17 that its sister brands also offer under the same regulations.