Volkswagen has played an integral part in South African motorsport over the years. From Formula Vee to Polo Cup they have created series for aspiring racers to learn the craft and then go on to more powerful formula locally and internationally. The Volkswagen Polo Cup is now in its 24th year, which is testament to the need for a one make series like this.
Many of the big names in South African motorsport kicked off their career behind the wheel of a VW. The likes of Sarel van der Merwe, Chris Aberdien, Reghard Roets, Graeme Nathan, Hennie van der Linde and more recently Jordan Pepper as well as Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde all learnt their their way around race tracks in machines developed in Uitenhage.
Despite trying times Volkswagen Motorsport are once again putting their money where their mouth is and launching two new cars.
The GTC series is SA’s premier national saloon car championship that Volkswagen has competed in since the inception with a Jetta styled vehicle.
After winning the Global Touring Cars (GTC) championship both in the GTC 1 and GTC2 classes in 2019, Volkswagen Motorsport is ready to defend its title with the new GTC racing car. For the past four years, Volkswagen Motorsport has been racing with the Jetta and since the Jetta is no longer offered in right-hand drive markets, we had to find an appropriate successor. Volkswagen Motorsport’s new racing car will be driven by the 2019 GTC champion Keagan Masters and Daniel Rowe, the 2016 GTC2 champion. GTC, which launched in South Africa in 2016, is the premier motorsport championship in South Africa.
The new car still uses a 2.0 litre EA888 turbocharged engine, but with uprated connecting rods and pistons, which sees it produce approximately 370kW and 600Nm. A specification transaxle sequential gearbox transforms the Golf into a rear wheel drive as per class regulations. Engine management is taken care of by a Life system and stopping power is courtesy of six pot Brembo callipers and 380mm brake rotors.
This will be the first Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI to race anywhere in the world following the recent launch of the eight generation of this iconic hot hatch in Europe.
Volkswagen Motorsport have redeveloped the vehicle based on the upcoming VW Golf 8 GTI inline with the GTC rules. All vehicles, no matter which manufacturer they represent adhere to the same basic specifications, ensuring competitiveness.
In the GTC series all vehicles have to adhere to strict control measures which feature a common chassis, running gear, a single ECU to control performance, tyres, suspension and other components.
“New features in the Golf 8 GTI racing car include an all-new chrome moly tubular chassis which is much stiffer and approximately 100kg lighter than the previous generation GTC car,” said Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport.
The second VW racing car that is due to hit the tracks as soon as motorsport resumes is the Supa Polo. The Volkswagen Supa Polo is a study in the ultimate race car based on a Polo chassis. Under the bonnet is the engine and turbocharger from a Golf R producing 200kW coupled to a sequential M-Trac gearbox, Motec engine management, Powerbrake stoppers and Dunlop slicks. Around 12 of these racing cars have been built and sold to date and this should be a very competitive class of cars that will turn quick lap times. At around R700 000 it is a proper race car for not too much money.
Volkswagen Motorsport are hoping that racing can commence in August.
Text: Reuben van Niekerk