Volkswagen has revealed a sketch of its new Polo GTI R5, a rally version of the popular hatchback set to become available to “professional teams and aspiring drivers” in the second half of 2018.
VW, of course, pulled out of the FIA World Rally Championship at the end of the 2016 season. But the Wolfsburg automaker says that this latest rally-bred Polo – based on the sixth-generation hatchback – will be available for others to use in the WRC, as well as in many other competitions across the world.
“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.”
Volkswagen Motorsport’s technical director, François-Xavier Demaison, was the man behind the successful Polo R WRC and is now responsible for the development of the Polo GTI R5. Gerard-Jan de Jongh – who served as Sébastien Ogier’s race engineer – has the role of senior project engineer.
Powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (worth somewhere in the region of 200 kW), the Polo GTI R5 boasts four-wheel drive, a sequential five-speed racing transmission and what VW calls “a comprehensive safety package”.