Modified Volkswagen Bonneville Jetta Built To Set New Speed Record

Bonneville Salt Flats

Volkswagen will attempt to set a new class record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August with a modified Jetta.

This weekend, Volkswagen will attempt to set a new EV record at the challenging Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with the radical I.D. R racecar. But that isn’t the only record the automaker is chasing this year. VW has prepared a specially modified 2019 Jetta to attempt a new class speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah. Dubbed the Bonneville Jetta, the race-ready sedan will compete in the BGC/G class over August 11 – 17.

The race-prepped Jetta will be powered by a modified version of Volkswagen’s EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct injection four-cylinder engine. Built by California-based specialists THR Manufacturing, Volkswagen says the Bonneville Jetta previews the powertrain that will be used in the forthcoming Jetta GLI performance model. To set a new record, the Bonneville Jetta will need to beat the existing class record of 208.472 mph, which is a testament to the potential performance the EA888 engine can achieve with modifications. Volkswagen is also confident the all-new Jetta’s aerodynamic design, which delivers a drag coefficient of just 0.27, will help it achieve the record.

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“We are delighted with the reception for the all-new 2019 Jetta in North America,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North America Region, Volkswagen. “With the attempt on the Bonneville speed record with the Jetta, we want to underline the Jetta’s sporty credentials and get customers excited for the more performance-oriented Jetta GLI on the way.” To run at high speed on the salt, the Bonneville Jetta has had extensive modifications including lowered suspension, special Salt Flat wheels and tires, and a limited-slip differential to aid traction. The interior has also been stripped and outfitted with safety equipment such as a roll cage, racing seat and harness, and a fire suppression system.

A pair of parachutes have been fitted to help slow the car down. The exterior is finished in a special livery designed by Volkswagen’s Southern California Design Center. “This was a truly fun project to be involved in,” said Reto Brun, Director, Volkswagen Design Center California. “We wanted to highlight the sporty nature of the Jetta and give the car design graphics that would make it really stand out on the alien-like environment of the Bonneville Salt Flats. We wish the team luck as they attempt to make this the fastest Jetta—and the fastest production-based Volkswagen—ever seen!”