Volkswagen may have pulled out of the World Rally Championship, but it’s back on the scene with the new Polo GTI R5.
Derived from the car with which it won four consecutive world championships, the new R5 is built as a customer rally car. It packs a 1.6-liter turbo four, sending 270 horsepower to all four wheels through a five-speed sequential gearbox. 0-62 is quoted at 4.1 seconds.
The automaker first announced plans for the Polo GTI R5 this past November, and revealed it in December. Now it’s already gearing up to start delivering the 15 of the new rally machines to eagerly awaiting customer teams.
Volkswagen Motorsport will deliver most of them to teams in Europe. Three will go to Baumschlager Rallye & Racing GmbH in Austria, and three to teams in Belgium (BMA and THX Racing). Two apiece will go to the Printsport Oy team in Finland, to HK Racing in Italy. An unidentified team in Portugal and Sweden’s Kristoffersson Motorsport will each get one. And three will go all the way to the VW importer in Paraguay.
“We are overwhelmed by the positive feedback on the Polo GTI R5,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “The customer demand is enormous. We are obviously pleased about this, and it is an additional motivation to provide the teams with the best possible rally car.”
Since the FIA initiated the new R5 regulations in 2012, five manufacturers have supplied more than 400 cars to teams around the world. Volkswagen’s motorsport division will take the steel chassis off the production line in Spain, and finish each one by hand at its dedicated facility in Hannover, Germany. Once homologation is complete in the summer, these initial deliveries are set to commence in the second half of this year.