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.