Volkswagen is looking at making an impression at the 2011 Dakar Rally and they’re kicking off their campaign by releasing a teaser photo of the Race Touareg 3, the specially built SUV that’s expected to carry the VW banner at the annual dirt race.
After having won the previous two Dakar Rally races, VW is looking to make it three in a row as it follows in the success laid out by 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz and again in 2010 by Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz.
With a race-ready Touareg to be used as the peg, Volkswagen is looking at completely overhauling the current version’s aerodynamics to make it as Dakar-ready as possible while also keeping the SUV’s already powerful 300-horsepower TDI engine.
The company plans to radically improve the aerodynamics of the current race-ready Touareg, while keeping the inspiration of the current mass production vehicle.
As for what we’re looking at with this teaser image, it doesn’t really show a whole lot apart from the brush guard bars that surrounds the Touareg’s grille. That being said, we expect to see more teaser photos – or maybe even the racing prototype’s public unveiling – as soon as more testing is done on the SUV, which we expect to happen anytime in the near future.
Press Release after the jump.
New design, proven technology: Volkswagen is developing an evolution model of the Race Touareg that has been victorious twice in a row for the 2011 Dakar Rally in South America.
In January 2011 the Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer will field four Race Tourareg 3 vehicles with fundamentally updated aerodynamics at the desert classic through Argentina and Chile. The cross-country rally vehicle follows the latest production model change and picks up concrete characteristics of the avant-garde shape of the Touareg II. As a result, the new Race Touareg incorporates its outstanding vehicle dynamics qualities in an even more athletic outer skin than before, with proven and extremely successful technology underneath: the TDI engine with an approximate power output of 300 hp as well as the suspension and chassis basically remain untouched.
"The evolution of the vehicle into the Race Touareg 3 represents the next logical step we’re taking towards our big aim of achieving the hat-trick at the Dakar Rally," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "With new aerodynamics this Race Touareg will look even more spectacular than before, while quoting aspects of the design language of the new production Touareg and, in addition, receiving further detailed optimizations. Its core is well proven because we continue to bank on the consistently optimised technology package that has been giving the Race Touareg first-rate performance and maximum reliability."
Evolution in steps: Race Touareg 3 with a new face
Newly designed and updated: the Race Touareg 3 is by no means a completely new development. It continues to be based on the basic engineering design of the Race Touareg 2 that was introduced in 2005. Sin ce then the cross-country rally prototype with its innovative TDI engine has gone through an evolution in the area of the powertrain and suspension across several steps. In the step towards the Race Touareg 3 the main focus is on the new outer skin.
Tests with the Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 in the deserts of Morocco at the end of July will literally ring in the hot phase of the development programme. The extensive tests including the simulation of several rally distances will be followed by the official unveiling of the vehicle in August. In autumn the Race Touareg 3 will have its baptism of fire in competition with others: the Silk Way Rally through Russia which starts in St. Petersburg and ends in Sochi (11-18 September 2010) is regarded as a serious dress rehearsal for the legendary Dakar Rally (01-16 January 2011).