The importance of Volkswagen ’s Polo R WRC racer cannot be overstated. Designed specifically for the new rules that went into effect for the 2013 season, the Polo R dominated the World Rally Championship, knocking Citroen from the top of the podium for the first time in nearly a decade.
That last fact is what needs to resonate the most. The Polo R WRC ended a nine-year domination of the sport. When you have one man, or one team that is unstoppable in any form of competition, it ceases to become a competition. When you know who will win, it isn’t very much fun to watch, unless you happen to be a fan of the winner.
Volkswagen can’t afford to rest on its laurels though. The 2014 season represents a whole new competition, and Citroen is no doubt making plans to take back the title of World Champion.
As such, Volkswagen has announced its car for the 2014 WRC season, and it has been kind enough to share a few of the important changes it has made. Apart from the obvious visual changes on the new rally car , Volkswagen has spent much of its time perfecting engine components and improving the overall stability of the car through ECU flashes and the alteration of chassis components. Other than the 315-horsepower four-pot under the hood, Volkswagen didn’t dive too far into the details of what’s changed under the skin, as it is hoping to surprise its rivals once again this year.
The first race of the season, Rallye Monte Carlo, is taking place this week and Volkswagen is off to a promising start as they secured the fastest time in the testing stage. That said, Citroen was only 1.2 seconds off pace, and only 3.5 seconds separate first and seventh, so the racing should be close.
Ladies and Gentleman, Volkswagen has brought the excitement back to the World Rally Championship.
Click past the jump to read more on the WRC.
Brief WRC History
The World Rally Championship (WRC) is a rallying race series organized by the FIA, the same sanctioning group that oversees Formula One. Just as in Formula One, the WRC consists of a series of races with the winning teams and drivers being awarded points. At the end of the season, the driver and team with the most points is crowned World Champion.
The first series was run in the year 1973. In its current form, all entered cars are based on a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, feature four-wheel drive and each car is fitted with a sequential gearbox.
The 2014 Season will consist of 13 races and has four major automotive manufacturers entering cars; Ford, Volkswagen, Citroen and Hyundai. Currently there are a total of 23 cars scheduled to compete.
New design for championship-winning car
Detailed improvements under the bonnet
The championship-winning car is now even better: the Polo R WRC for the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) is primed and ready for the challenges ahead. Ahead of the new season, which opens with a true classic in the form of the hugely challenging Rally Monte Carlo from 14th to 19th January, Volkswagen has made detailed improvements to its World Champion car. The works team commences the defence of its title with a 315-hp World Rally Car, which has been the subject of constant further development since making its debut almost twelve months ago. An appropriately dynamic appearance is provided by the striking new design, which features grey and blue stripes. First impression: this Polo R WRC is even more dynamic. The four wheel-drive powerhouse won ten of the 13 rallies last season, ensuring all three World Championship titles headed to Wolfsburg.
“If you don’t go forwards in motorsport, you go backwards,” said Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “When it comes to technical development, you simply cannot afford to let up for a single second. Although we won some laurels in 2013, we have certainly not rested on them. The manufacturers in the World Rally Championship agreed not to homologate any new World Rally Cars for the 2014 season. Despite this, we tried to take full advantage of the options still available to us. Many detailed aspects of the 2014 Polo R WRC have been further developed since we made our debut twelve months ago. Every single member of the team cannot wait to find out where we stand compared to the strong competition we will face from Citroën and Ford, as well as our new opposition at Hyundai.”
A game played under strict rules: the 2014 version of the Polo R WRC is the sum of the detailed further developments performed on the 2013 car. As well as the new design, the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg has also been honed under the bonnet. After last season, the team played ten so-called jokers, which allowed it to alter individual components compared to the homologation documents submitted previously. Besides optimising chassis components and new set-up variants for the drive train, the priority for the engineers was to improve the stability of the car. Volkswagen used one joker to install a new software version for the on-board electronics.
As well as the pure performance, a major plus in 2013 was the reliability of the Polo R WRC. In 13 World Championship rallies – three with two cars and ten with three – the works team did not suffer any engine damage. There was just one technical fault: a loose connection in the electronics