Volkswagen is officially done with motorsport.
It's the end of an era. For over five decades, Volkswagen Motorsport has competed in a variety of racing disciplines, from Formula 3 and touring cars, to rallying and rallycross. The German automaker has an impressive racing track record, with three Dakar Rally wins with the Touraeg, four World Rally Championship titles with the Polo R, two TCR International titles with the Golf GTI, and three Rallycross World Championship titles with the Polo. The prototype ID.R electric racecar has also racked up numerous lap records at the Nurburgring, Pikes Peak, and Goodwood, to name a few. But Volkswagen is now officially done with motorsport.
Volkswagen has announced it is terminating its racing activities and transferring 169 staff from its motorsport division to Volkswagen AG within the next few months.
This bold move will enable VW to pour more investment into the development of its electric ID. models with the aim to overtake Tesla as the mass-market EV leader.
"The Volkswagen brand is on the way to becoming the leading provider for sustainable e-mobility. To this end, we are pooling our strengths and have decided to terminate the Volkswagen brand's own motorsport activities. The motorsport workforce will be integrated in Volkswagen AG. The deep technical expertise of the motorsport employees and the know-how gained from the ID.R project will remain with the company and will help us put further efficient models from the ID. family on the road", said Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for the Development Division.
Production of the customer sport Polo GTI R5 rally car will expire at the end of 2020, but spare parts for the Polo GTI R5 and Golf GTI TCR will still be available. But while one era has ended, another exciting era is about to begin for VW.
One key racing engineer joining VW Group is Alexander Hitzinger, who helped develop the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 race car and worked on Apple's autonomous cars. He will lead the development of Audi's top secret Project Artemis, a new electric car with advanced autonomous technology designed to fight next-generation Tesla models. Three models are planned, with one for each VW Group brand including Audi, Bentley, and Porsche.
Details are still scarce, but the battery pack will reportedly deliver a 404-mile range on a single charge. Audi's version of Project Artemis is expected to arrive in 2024 before being joined by Porsche and Bentley's versions in 2025 or 2026.