Volkswagen Previews Rally-Ready Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Patrick Everett Tadeo

Volkswagen may no longer be involved in rallying but it is ready to provide professional teams and aspiring drivers with a 270 hp version of its new-generation Volkswagen Polo to let them compete in races around the globe, including the World Rally Championship (WRC) series which it won for four straight years from 2013 to 2016 before it dropped out of the sport at the end of the year.

Called the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, the car is based on the sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo which it launched in June 2017. And like the production model which Volkswagen is scheduled to launch at the end of the year, the Polo GTI R5 is powered by a four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection that’s paired to a sequential five-speed racing transmission that puts the power down on all four wheels. It also has a comprehensive safety package, giving teams and privateers “the opportunity to contest national, regional and international championships with cost-effective, powerful rally cars.”

According to the German carmaker, the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 is a product of the experience it gained in the WRC and was developed by Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director François-Xavier Demaison, the father of the record winning Polo R WRC, and Gerard-Jan de Jongh, who served as Sébastien Ogier’s race engineer. For the uninitiated, Ogier won the WRC Drivers’ title with Volkswagen four times in a row, from 2013 to 2016 as well.

“With the Polo GTI R5 we are hoping to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to customer racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the Polo GTI R5 to rigorous testing to make sure it is prepared for the extremely varied track conditions around the world.”

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