The Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept shown at the Detroit auto show may have been inspired by off-roaders, but at the 2014 Chicago auto show, Volkswagen is showing off a Beetle that will actually go off-road. In partnership with Andretti Autosport, both Tanner Foust and Scott Speed will pilot specialized, 560-horsepower Volkswagen Beetles in the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship.
“Red Bull Global Rallycross is the perfect form of motor sports for a youthful, exuberant, and growing brand in the U.S. market,” Michael Horn, the newly-installed president and CEO of Volkwagen of America, said in a prepared release. “We’re excited to partner with Andretti Autosport, and delighted that we will be running the iconic Beetle in the series.”
The Rockstar-emblazoned Beetle GRC on display in Chicago is allegedly representative of the bug Foust will be campaigning later this year (Speed’s Beetle will be painted in 7-Up colors), but it’s not exactly the finished, ready-to-race product. The actual Beetle GRCs will make their competition debut in June at the Summer X Games in Austin, Texas. As a result, both Foust and Speed will be piloting modified versions of the awesome Volkswagen Polo WRC car for the season’s first event, which kicks off in Barbados on May 18.
Perhaps that substitution is fitting. Few technical details on the Beetle GRC have been disclosed at this point in time, but VW representatives tell us the car’s mechanicals are “very similar” to what’s being used in the Polo R WRC car, albeit with a simplified all-wheel-drive system. Engine details are still forthcoming, but Volkswagen’s already boasting that the car will produce “more than 560 horsepower” from a turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder. Although that power makes the “Super Beetle” logo on Foust’s car wholly appropriate, it isn’t too surprising. For instance, the highly-modified 2.0-liter four-cylinder used in Carlo Sainz’s Polo Rallycross car for the Barcelona X Games spat out 550 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque.
Look for more details to emerge later this year, perhaps just before the“definitive” Beetle GRC cars debut in the Lone Star state.