Volkswagen used the 2014 Chicago auto show to announce that it would campaign modified Beetle hatchbacks in this year's Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, and today the company revealed even more details on the new race car. Drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed will pilot the car, which will be run by Andretti Autosport, later this season.
The Volkswagen Beetle GRC is a far cry from the hatchback available in showrooms. To start, it wears a custom wide bodykit with abundant vents, along with an enormous rear wing. Whereas the lightest 2014 Beetle you can buy weighs 2948 pounds, the Volkswagen Beetle GRC tips the scales at the series-minimum 2668 pounds, thanks to a lack of production niceties like air conditioning, carpeting, and a sound system.
Under the hood, the Volkswagen Beetle GRC packs a serious punch from a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four engine claimed to produce 544 hp. Power goes through a six-speed sequential transmission to an all-wheel-drive system with front and rear limited-slip differentials. Volkswagen says the car will hit 60 mph in just 2.1 seconds. It will also stop in a hurry, thanks to four-piston brake calipers gripping enormous discs that measure 14.0 inches in front and 11.8 inches in rear. Special ZF dampers give the Volkswagen Beetle GRC 9.1 inches of suspension travel for rough off-road courses, and the car rides on 17-inch wheels shod in Yokohama racing tires.
So far this year, driver Scott Speed has already won two Rallycross events in Volkswagen's current car, a highly modified Polo hatchback. "The Polo has already proved super-competitive, and we are really looking forward to racing a car that has been engineered specifically by Volkswagen Motorsport for GRC competition," he said in a statement.