VW enthusiasts, rejoice! Volkswagen won't let politics stand in the way of celebrating the GTI.
After the Austrian municipality of Maria Worth announced two weeks ago that it would no longer allow the annual Volkswagen GTI-Treffen to take place alongside Lake Worthersee, Volkswagen itself has stepped in to ensure that the event lives on, albeit in a slightly different yet still iconic locale.
From 2024, the unmissable extravaganza will take place at the home of Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany. The new "GTI Coming Home" event will take place near the brand's landmark production plant and will feature a new format to better cater to all sorts of VW enthusiasts, whether they like untouched classics or heavily modified hot hatches.
"Our GTI fans are of great importance to Volkswagen, and that's why the exchange with them is very dear to us," said Imelda Labbe, member of the board of Management for Sales, Marketing, and After Sales at Volkswagen Passenger Cars. "For this reason, after the GTI Meeting at Lake Worthersee was unfortunately canceled, we decided pretty quickly to offer the GTI fan community in Wolfsburg a new home for the event. When planning the event, we also want to take into account the ideas of the fans because it should, above all, be a meeting for them. Accordingly, we will certainly be able to offer some highlights and surprises in the coming year."
With that in mind, will 2023 see the official event take a hiatus from the calendar?
When the announcement of the Worthersee event was made, organizers said that they would host the tuning meet in Klagenfurt, not far from the lake. But this was not confirmed, as organizers mandated that the event would only take place on May 20, 2023, if the unspecified minimum number of participants is reached by March 10. It's unclear if Volkswagen's announcement will mean the Klagenfurt event will be written off.
Whatever 2023 holds, the Wolfsburg meet next year will surely be a mammoth event featuring vehicle presentations of new products, stage shows, and club meets. Volkswagen says it plans to have "integration of the GTI community and other scene partners," which means we can expect displays from the likes of BBS with its gorgeous wheels and other aftermarket outfits. Jamie Orr - famous for his impressive modified VWs in the US - will surely make the trip, and Volkswagen will probably maintain its tradition of unveiling a creation brought to life by apprentices.
With a new venue, a new format, and loads of anticipation, the GTI-Treffen should get more impressive and exciting than ever. Worthersee is dead; long live Wolfsburg.
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