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rally cars

When Volkswagen said that it was entering the World Rally Championship in time for the 2013 season, it stamped the announcement by revealing the Polo R WRC Concept , the prototype model of what would eventually become VW’s production series race car.

Over the weekend at Monaco, Volkswagen finally pulled the covers off of the latter, giving further indication that it’s ready to take the WRC by storm next year.

Judging by the overall look of the car, the high-performance sports hatch appears to have retained most of the design and performance characteristics of the concept. The rally-inspired lower front spoiler with large air inlets are still there, as is the spoiler on the rear edge of the roof and the rear diffuser. Some new additions on the body are purely aesthetic, including the “WRC” badging on the rear and the “R” logos on the front and rear.

The race version of the Polo R WRC also receives a set of 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 215/35R18 tires. Helping bring it to a halt are 16-inch disc brakes. Inside, the rally car comes equipped with a race-spec interior, highlighted by a black roof liner, race-style pedals, an Alcantara steering wheel, and the typical insanely long rally transmission stick.

Overall, the car only weighs 1,200 kg (2,645 pounds), which Volkswagen accomplished by using carbon and Kevlar on the doors, tailgate and wheel arch extensions. The svelte weight even accounts for the wider frame of 1,820 mm (71.65 inches), which is around 138 mm (5.43 inches) wider than the production model.

In terms of performance, the Polo R WRC Edition is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged TSI four-cylinder engine that has been limited to only produce 315 horsepower. This engine mates to a six-speed sequential transmission with a 0-to-100 km/h (62 mph) time of just 3.9 seconds.

The Polo R WRC Rally Car will make its long-awaited debut at the Monte Carlo rally this coming January with Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala taking the helm. The event should be a good barometer for the company and the team to gauge how ready the car is when it makes its WRC debut later that year.

Opel’s offering to the city car segment, the Adam , is getting a race-spec version in the form of the Adam Cup Rally Car.

In announcing their return of to the motorsport world, Opel’s Adam Cup Rally Car will compete in the ADAC Opel Rally Cup as part of the ADAC Rally Masters race. It’s hardly the WRC, the highest level of rally racing in the world, but for a company that’s only returning to the rally scene after a prolonged sabbatical, the Adam Cup Rally Car is being prepared for great things.

Full race-spec details of the Adam Cup Rally Car have yet to be announced, but we do know that the car will get the full complement of aerodynamic racing components. There’s the full-on livery dress-up and a new set of wheels and tires on the body and an interior that carries a full roll cage, sport bucket seats with six-point harnesses, and a new steering wheel.

Keep an eye out on the Opel Adam Cup Rally Car next season when it officially enters competitive racing again. As a race-spec machine, the race car was built to adhere to FIA R2 regulations.

UPDATE 02/04/13: Speaking of being updated, the Opel Adam Cup Rally Car will be on hand at the Geneva Motor Show. Be sure to keep an eye out on it when it hits the stands in Geneva.

The last time Opel achieved success in motorsports was 2003 when the Astra V8 Coupe conquered the 24 Hours of Nurburgring race. Since then, Opel has kept a low key profile in racing. All that, though, is set to change when the new Astra OPC returns to racing.

The new Opel Astra OPC has been given some racing juices, and thus, the Astra OPC Cup was born. The future race car is set to compete in the 2013 season and has been built to fully comply with "VLN Endurance Championship" standards, considered as the most popular grass roots racing series in Europe.

In addition to competing in its own brand trophy class as part of the VLN Endurance Championship series, the Astra OPC Cup will also ply its wares in the race that its predecessor once conquered: the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.

Full-spec details weren’t announced surrounding the Astra OPC Cup, but according to Dr. Thomas Sedran, Opel’s Deputy CEO, the race car being built plays into Opel’s new direction as a company. These new motorsports activities play an important role in the strategic re-alignment of the company; they are a fundamental element of our brand profile," Dr. Sedran said.


If you haven’t been following the world of rally racing for the past decade, you’re probably surprised that there seems to be a disproportionate level of buzz surrounding Hyundai’s return to the World Rally Championship?

Wait, did they ever leave? That’s one of the questions we’ve received from some folks and the answer, of course, is yes. Back in 2003, in fact.

That’s why when Hyundai opens their exhibit at the 2012 Paris Motor Show with the i20 World Rally Championship Rally Car, nobody should be surprised because it’s a really big deal.

As far as details are concerned, the Korean automaker is keeping that close to their chest, particularly because there could be more than just WRC-prepped model in attendance at Paris. What we’ve been informed, though, is that the car is expected to carry a turbocharged engine that hits all the right notes at 200 horsepower.

Keep it close here because Hyundai’s apparent interest in returning to the World Rally Championship could all be confirmed at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. After all, they wouldn’t go through all the trouble of building this rally prototype of the i20 if they weren’t that serious.

The dangers of auto racing aren’t limited to just race drivers; in some instances, especially when they get really too close, spectators open themselves up to the same risks as the drivers.

Unfortunately, that reality reared its ugly head last weekend in Serbia during the FIA European Hillclimb Championship when a Mitsubishi rally car lost control on one of the turns before hitting a crowd that was sitting a little too close to the action.

The high-speed crash had fatal results, with three spectators dying when the rally car barreled its way toward them. The video that was captured of the crash is only 17 seconds long, but it was long enough to paint a real picture of what happens when things go terribly, terribly wrong.

Organizers of that event immediately banned all spectators from staying in the area, but it was a case of being too little too late.

Watch the video and see how the crash came about. If for nothing else, it’s a far cry from the video we saw last week of a rally driver performing an unbelievable save with, coincidentally, another Mitsubishi rally car.

Source: You Tube

Almost on a daily basis, we express our complete obsession with rally racing, as their drivers have to have ice in their veins to even consider whipping a car around these often treacherous tracks at triple-digit speeds. With this incredible speed and loose surfaces come some of the most incredible wrecks, but also some of the most incredible saves.

The above video comes to us from a Polish rally and from the date stamp on the video, it occurred on the August 11th. The driver of this Mitsubishi Evo came into a wet turn just a little too hot and went over the embankment at the end of the turn. Suddenly the car ends up on two wheels, but somehow it winds up back on the road and heads in a straight path.

Typically, when a racecar hits two wheels, an inexperienced driver simply plays damage control. He prepares for impact and hangs on. This driver is obviously rather seasoned, as he maintains control, doesn’t panic, and acts as if nothing happened once the car is back on all fours. This definitely qualifies as an entrant into the Save of the Year running for 2012.

Check out the video for yourself. There is one video above and two more after the jump. It’s rather impressive, but pretty loud, so you may want to adjust the volume on your speakers a little.

Click past the jump to see the two alternate views.

Toyota’s Motorsport division has its eye on a return to rally racing and they’re bringing a new ride for the occasion. This new model should come in just in time for the ninth round of the World Rally Championship at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland on August 24th to 26th, 2012.

The car will be the Toyota Yaris , the company’s lovable little hatchback that has been rechristened as the "Yaris R1A." In order to comply with FIA R1A regulations, Toyota gave the Yaris limited performance modifications that include a new racing exhaust, a catalytic converter system, shorter final drive gear, a new motorsport suspension with adapted springs and adjustable ride height, and cursory safety enhancements like the bolt-in roll cage, rally seats, safety harnesses, a power cut-off switch, fire extinguishers, and sump guards.

Talking about the new Yaris R1A, TMG president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said: "It is a great thrill for TMG to return to rallying, a discipline in which we enjoyed a great deal of success in the past. The TMG Yaris R1A is a completely different project compared to our WRC past; it is an affordable but exciting car which makes rallying‟s major events accessible to a whole range of participants."

For now, the Yaris R1A will participate at the ADAC Rallye Deutscheland as a "Zero Car" with Toyota setting a goal for their new rally baby to become the first car in the world to be awarded FIA R1A homologation, allowing it to compete in regional, national, and international competitions, including the WRC.

For a car that has been priced at €22,500 ($27,800), the Yaris R1A is already getting plenty of interest in the rally world. "We have already received numerous inquiries about this car so we know there is a huge appetite in the rally world for a new TOYOTA," said Kinoshita.

"I hope this is the start of a new rally dynasty at TMG."

UPDATE 11/25/12: The Toyota Yaris R1A Rally Car will be on hand at the 2012 Essen Motor Show in a week’s time. Watch out for it as it tries to gt some attention from the expected throngs go people headed to Europe’s biggest aftermarket auto show.

Typically, when you think of a 90-year-old person driving you think of the following: a cushion on the seat so they can see over the wheel, the never-ending turn signal, hard and unnecessary braking, 15-second delays between the light turning green and them pulling away, and taking every small turn as if it were a hairpin turn. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit of stereotyping, but we’re going to call it like we see it.

One thing that would likely not cross your mind is a gravel and dirt stomping, tail wagging, rally grandma. Well, you can scratch that one, as we have just come across a video of a 91-year-old lady, who neither looks nor acts her age. She decided to give rallycross a shot and wagged an `ol Suby’s tail all over some gravel and dirt.

Though she looked to be in a subdued panic a lot of the time, she really did a pretty good job navigating the course. Her co-driver was right along with her, guiding her through the course as she went. She does, however, fly off-course at the end. You can actually hear her say “Did I hit the cone.” Her co-driver then jokingly responds “You went off course, which is worse than hitting a cone, unfortunately.”

Okay, maybe she’s not the next Sebastien Loeb, but it still takes a little bit of gall to do what she did, regardless of the fact that she never actually left first gear. Take a look at the video, it’s definitely worth it.

Source: YouTube

There are tons of racing circuits in the world right now, but the fastest rising one in the U.S. is the Global RallyCross Championship circuit. You have super-fast cars on multiple surfaces (dirt, mud, sand, pavement, etc.) with little room to maneuver, plus they throw in obstacles and and ramps. No, we don’t mean relatively cushy dirt jumps in regular rally circuits. We mean ramps with huge gaps between them. So, who can blame us for falling in love with it?

It looks like the FIA is a little envious of the GRC and is planning to start its own international global rallycross circuit. With this potential entry into globalizing its rallycross circuit, the FIA is rumored to have forbid its drivers to participate in GRC. This would take some pretty high-level names out of the GRC, like Ken Block, Sebastien Loeb, Tanner Foust, and Liam Doran. To make matters worse, Tanner Foust is actually the points leader in the 2012 season, so that would be a major shakeup if the ban comes mid-season.

As we said, these are just rumors right now, but with multiple sources spreading the same whispers, there is likely some truth behind it. We have shipped off an email to GRC to get a quick statement and to see if there is any truth behind this, but we really doubt that they will confirm or deny the rumors.

For now, we just have to kick back and wait to see if the FIA follows through with this ban and if it’ll affect the 2012 season.

Source: Jalopnik

This picture may be a little old — from the 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed rally — but it still captures the essence of rally racing. Not only are rallys hard to photograph because of the limited angles you have, but the high speeds and bouncing that the cars do make it nearly impossible.

Well, Kolin Tregaskes caught Colin McRae’s Subaru WRX heading up the Goodwood Forest Rally at the Festival of Speed . Yup, Goodwood has more than just an awesomely technical road course.

You get to see this blue rocket propelling between the trees, likely at speeds most of us would not hot on the interstate, let alone off road. In his trail is nothing but a light cloud of dust.

Even with Tregaskes’ steady hand and likely high-end digital camera, the violent bouncing of McRae’s car still comes through as a light blur. This makes you wonder exactly how these rally drivers can even see the path they are piloting.

Nice grab by Kolin Tregaskes. Make sure to catch his entire Flickr portfolio here to see other great shots.

Source: Flickr

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