Last year, Volkswagen secured a class victory at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring with a natural gas-powered version of its Scirocco. VW will once again tackle the famous endurance race this year with three natural gas-powered Scirocco GT24-CNGs.
Powering the Scirocco GT24-CNG is a version of VW’s turbocharged 2.0-liter Inline-four-cylinder, modified to run on natural gas. In GTI and Golf R forms, this engine can produce 207 and 265 horsepower, respectively. Tuned for racing and the CNG fuel, the engine’s output is somewhere in the realm of 330 horsepower. Perhaps mean and green are no longer mutually exclusive characteristics…
In order to give the company its best shot at a repeat class victory, VW enlisted some serious drivers. The first Scirocco GT24-CNG will be driven by Jimmy Johansson, Florian Gruber, and Nicki Thim, who all competed in a conventional gasoline-powered Scirocco at the same event last year and secured VW its third-consecutive class title. Peter Terting, who drove the Scirocco GT24-CNG to victory in the alternative powertrains class last year, will also join the group.
Driving the second Scirocco GT24-CNG will be Nassar Al-Attiyah, Vanina Ickx, Dieter Depping, and Klaus Niedzwiedz. All have proven themselves in racing time and again: Al-Attiyah finished second in the Dakar Rally as part of VW’s podium sweep, Ickx is an accomplished DTM driver and daughter of Formula 1 driver Jacky Ickx, Depping is a three-time German rally winner, and Niedzwiedz has won the endurance race at the “Green Hell” twice.
The last car is perhaps the most interesting. Driven by a team comprised of two VW executives and two automotive journalists, the third GT24-CNG receives a new front differential. The electro-hydraulic unit reportedly helps curtail understeer on the nose-heavy car.
We’re betting Volkswagen will find at least some success at this year’s race. In fact, the automaker says Nicki Thim set a course lap record for a front-wheel-drive vehicle during the last round of testing. VW plans on entering one more Endurance Championship event on the famed circuit before jumping into the 24-hour event, scheduled to begin on May 13.