Volkswagen Motorsport doesn’t just do rallying. It also churns out touring cars like this Golf GTI TCR.
VW’s dominance of the World Rally Championship may be the jewel in the crown for the German company’s motorsport arm, but it’s also quietly confident about this new tin-top racer. Let’s qualify the ‘new’ statement a little bit first, however. You’re not mistaken about the fact it looks very similar to the Golf Touring Car Concept we featured last year. In short, it’s the same car but with extra honeycomb grilles and GTI badging.
Volkswagen points out that the car which was used in certain rounds of the 2015 TCR International Series, was there to evaluate how competitive a Golf racer could be. Given that the ‘concept’ car took a win in only its second race, it’s fair to say that was sufficient to convince Volkswagen to go for a full campaign in 2016. The GTI branding is to commemorate on-track the 40th anniversary of the Golf GTI, whilst we’ve already seen the GTI Clubsport,which upholds honours on the road.
Set to be ran by at least two teams in the 2016 TCR International Series, the stiffest competition for the 325hp Golf GTI will be the SEAT Leon Cup Racer. That Spanish cousin shares a number of parts with the GTI, including the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, and was the car to beat in 2015.
First blood will be drawn on 3rd April 2016, as the TCR Series supports the Bahrain round of the Formula 1 circus. We’ll see who really rules the roost in the Volkswagen Group hierarchy when the gloves are off.