The vehicle which brought Jean-Karl Vernay the 2017 TCR International Series title, the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, will get a face-lift for the 2018 season with a re-working of the front-end bringing the auto to a design more similar to the production model, in order to increase emphasis on the relevance of the cars' road-going counterpart.
After having won the WRC competition for four years in a row (2013-2016), early this year the German carmaker announced that it will no longer be competing in the championship.
"The Polo GTI R5 came through the initial tests without any problems". Jan de Jongh, project manager, was also involved in developing Ogier's vehicle.
The Polo GTI R5 will be homologated next summer and the first deliveries are scheduled to occur shortly thereafter.
New Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 rally vehicle unveiled
"The close relationship to the road-going Polo GTI is unmistakable". Although there won't be a factory-backed Volkswagen team competing in the World Rally Championship this year, the new Polo ensures the company a presence in the burgeoning FIA R5 class. To make it rally worthy, Volkswagen has equipped the vehicle with a steel chassis that has been strengthened with a roll cage and other safety components.
Like its production counterpart, the R5 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. In the GTI R5, the engine makes additional 83 horses bringing the total to 268 bhp, while developing a peak torque of 400 Nm.
It is also fitted with a lightweight sequential five-speed racing gearbox and permanent all-wheel-drive that allows for maximum grip on all surfaces - handy considering some of the terrain the R5 will be rallying on.
VW says the Polo GTI WRC can run from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.1 seconds, helped of course by its low weight of just 1,320 kilos.