Throwback Thursday: Volkswagen quits motorsports, here are some of their most successful race cars

Volkswagen Polo R WRC presented during the Volkswagen WRC Kick-off 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany on January 15th, 2015 FIA World Rally Championship 2015 // Volkswagen Motorsport/Red Bull Content Pool // SI201501150064 // Usage for editorial use only //

After 50 years of motorsport exploits in various arenas including the World Rally Championship and the Dakar Rally, Volkswagen Motorsport is no more.

The company will instead channel its focus and resources into electric mobility with the 169-strong workforce of the defunct division absorbed into Volkswagen AG.

To that end, let’s look at some of the most recognisable and successful Volkswagen race cars in the recent decade.

Polo R WRC – World Rally Championship

The car that spent 952 days in a row at the top of the WRC rankings and along the way, made Sebastien Ogier only the 3rd driver in WRC history to be crowned World Rally Champion four years in a row. Together with the French driver, the Polo recorded 37 WRC victories and four consecutive WRC championships.

Concidentally, all four championships won between 2013 to 2016 were wrapped up with a win, and a race to spare.

Race Touareg – Dakar Rally

Between 2009 and 2011, Volkswagen’s Race Touareg was the one to beat in the Dakar Rally, as it won three consecutive championships. In 2011, the Race Touareg 3 piloted by former WRC champion Carlos Sainz, clinched 12 out of 13 stage victories, covering a total distance of 9,600 km along the way.

In the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Volkswagen were so dominant with the Race Touareg that their drivers occupied the entire podium with a 1-2-3 finish.

Golf GTI TCR – TCR International

Beginning with the 2016 season, the Golf GTI TCR by Volkswagen Motorsport offered a production-derived customer sport vehicle for ambitious drivers and teams committed on global and national levels in the fast-growing TCR touring car category.

The car went on to score two TCR International titles in the 2016 and 2017 season.

Polo R Supercar – Rallycross World Championship

The 570 hp Polo R won three Rallycross World Championship titles in 2017, 2018, and 2020. The 2017 and 2018 titles were both won by Johan Kristoffersson with absolute dominance. In 2018, the title was wrapped up with two races to go, while the team scored a total of 17 wins out of 22 races in two seasons.

Fully-electric ID.R.

The ID.R racing car holds five international records, including the overall record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Pikes Peak (USA), the electric record for the Nürburgring, and the Tianmen Mountain in China.


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