Much is happening at the Chicago Auto Show today, even some racing news. Volkswagen is partnering with Andretti Autosport to form the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, and today it also announced the upcoming 2014 rallycross program, including the drivers and their cars.
The well-known Tanner Foust and his colleague driver Scott Speed will start the season off in two modified Polo rally cars, but will switch mid-season to the new GRC Volkswagen Beetle . The menacing little bug pushes some 560 horsepower to all four wheels via its turbocharged, direct-injected TSI engine.
Rallycross is one of the fastest growing motorsports within the U.S. and it’s garnering more and more attention. The rally cars race both each other and the clock for the win, conquering varying terrains and spectacular 70-foot jumps.
In a statement to the press, Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti, son of the famous Mario Andretti, said, "I’m thrilled to be entering the series, and especially happy about teaming with Volkswagen. We are excited about our driver lineup of Tanner and Scott; I believe we have the best drivers in the series and will be a top contender.”
The team and its two drivers will compete in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, which opens in May. Foust and Speed will drive the Polo cars during that event before switching to the Beetle GRC for the X Games in June.
Click past the jump to read more about the standard Volkswagen Beetle.
At last year’s Chicago Auto show , Volkswagen debuted the production version of the GRC Beetle . The low-production Beetle built in model year 2014 features the yellow and black paint scheme make famous by the original GSR Beetle from the 1970s. GSR, or Gelb Schwarzener Renner translates to simply the “Yellow Black Racer” and only 3,500 units were built back then, making them rather collectable today.
Today’s GSR (Not the GRC rallycar discussed above the jump) is also limited to a production run of 3,500. The updated GSR is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged I-4, making 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard while the six-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox is optional. Zero to 60 mph comes in a decent 6.5 seconds with a quarter mile in 14.8 sec at 94.9 mph.
Pricing for the GSR starts at $29,995 but climbs to $31,095 with the DSG gearbox selected.
Gallery Volkswagen Beetle GSR
Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Andretti Sports Marketing today announced the details of its 2014 rallycross program at the Chicago Auto Show. Volkswagen will partner with Andretti Autosport to form the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, running two cars in the series for drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
The team will initially compete this season with modified Polo rally cars, built on the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship for drivers and manufacturers, and will switch during the season to the fearsome GRC Beetle. This all-wheel-drive rallycross car is the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle and will feature more than 560 horsepower from its turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine.
Rallycross is the fastest growing form of motorsports in the U.S., attracting big crowds at venues across the country as well as live TV coverage. Cars are pitted against each other and the clock in a series of heats on a closed course that’s usually a mixture of dirt and pavement, with a 70-foot jump. The action is fast, it’s intense, and is hugely appealing to a crossover audience of auto and live action sports fans.
“Red Bull Global Rallycross is the perfect form of motor sports for a youthful, exuberant, and growing brand in the U.S. market,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We’re excited to partner with Andretti Autosport, one of the great names in American motor sports, and delighted that we will be running the iconic Beetle in the series.”
Michael Andretti, CEO of Andretti Autosport, added: "I’m thrilled to be entering the series, and especially happy about teaming with Volkswagen. We are excited about our driver lineup of Tanner [Foust] and Scott [Speed]; I believe we have the best drivers in the series and will be a top contender.”
Tanner Foust, GRC champion in 2011 and 2012 and runner-up in 2013, will drive the Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle. Foust is also widely recognized for hosting the U.S. version of Top Gear , for his rally driving skills, and for his stunt driving—he holds records for distance jumping and looping the loop in a car.
Scott Speed will be racing the 7UP entry for the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. As well as being a standout in the 2013 GRC Series, winning two races in and finishing fifth overall, Speed has competed at the very pinnacle of motorsports, driving Formula 1 for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007. He also competed in NASCAR between 2008 and 2013.
The Red Bull Global Rallycross series opens in May. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team will attend with a pair of Polo cars driven by Foust and Speed. The definitive GRC Beetle will appear at the X Games in June in Austin, TX.