Volkswagen continues to emphasize the motorsports roots of the 2014 VW Beetle, this time by announcing that it would support a two-car effort to capture this year’s Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). This will be a big-time effort, too, involving some of the top names in American racing: Tanner Foust—two-time GRC champ and co-host of the U.S. edition of Top Gear—will be behind the wheel of one, while Scott Speed (of F1 and NASCAR fame) will pilot the second. Running the show? Michael Andretti, CEO of Andretti Autosport.
Said the scion of the Andretti family: "I’m thrilled to be entering the series, and especially happy about teaming with Volkswagen. We are excited about our driver lineup of Tanner and Scott; I believe we have the best drivers in the series and will be a top contender.”
Of course, even backed by that kind of pedigree, it takes a special kind of car to excel in Global Rallycross, a sport that combines rally-style driving surfaces and a 70-foot jump with head-to-head closed-course action. That’s the mission of the 2014 VW Beetle GRC racecar, and it’s got a 560-hp turbocharged engine, advanced all-wheel-drive setup and a massive rear wing to help achieve its goal. More details about the car will have to wait until closer to its competition debut in June at the X Games in Austin, Texas, but it sure looks cool. Foust's car even gives a nod to the yellow-and-black color theme that first adorned the old-school VW Beetle GSR competition car.
Now, getting back to that debut date, Rallycross fans may realize that the 2014 season actually kicks of in May; with the 2014 VW Beetle GRC still undergoing final development, the Andretti team will begin it championship chase in a pair of VW Polos. (Which are a size smaller than the VW Golf and not sold in the United States.)
Said Michael Horn, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America: “Red Bull Global Rallycross is the perfect form of motorsports for a youthful, exuberant, and growing brand in the U.S. market. We’re excited to partner with Andretti Autosport, one of the great names in American motor sports, and delighted that we will be running the iconic Beetle in the series.”
The 2014 VW Beetle GRC also may signal something delightful for Volkswagen customers, perhaps in the guise of a hi-po production model that would introduce all-wheel drive to the Beetle nameplate. Stay tuned!