In the very near future, Volkswagen Motorsport will be entirely focused on electric performance.
The official motorsport division of VW announced late last week that both its own racing efforts and customer racing programs will focus on EVs going forward, meaning the current Golf GTI TCR and Polo GTI R5 will be VW's last race cars fitted with internal-combustion engines.
VW has already shown the performance potential of EV technology with the ID R. Although not a homologated race car, the ID R has managed to upset some of the top gasoline-powered race cars at famous race tracks, including setting a record in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
“Volkswagen Motorsport broke new ground with the ID R, and with its records around the world it demonstrated the enormous potential of electric drive,” said Frank Welsch, VW's head of R&D. “Now is the time for the next step towards the future: in motorsport, Volkswagen is resolutely committing to e-mobility and will say goodbye to factory-backed commitments using internal combustion engines.”
For its next-generation race cars, VW will look to utilize the MEB battery-electric platform that debuted this year in the ID 3 hatchback sold overseas. The automaker is currently evaluating different disciplines, platforms and vehicle types to compete with. Don't expect a Formula E entry, though, since fellow Volkswagen Group brands Audi and Porsche are already competing in the series.
The good news is that VW's EV developments in motorsport should benefit future road cars, namely those from VW's R division—something backed up by comments made by Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets.
“Electric mobility offers enormous development potential, and in this regard motorsport can be a trailblazer: on the one hand, it serves as a dynamic laboratory for the development of future production cars and, on the other, as a convincing marketing platform to inspire people even more towards electric mobility,” he said.