The Volkswagen New Beetle made its debut in 1998, following a long drought in America. Being based on the Golf, the New Beetle shared nearly nothing but its basic shape to the Beetle from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. In 2012, the Beetle obviously hit manhood, as VW dropped the "New" prefix and renamed it just "Beetle." This new, more masculine Beetle has slightly harder lined and a lower-slung roofline. Despite getting a little scruff on its face, few expected the newest Beetle to makes its way to race tracks, but that is exactly what is happening in 2014 with the Beetle GRC.
The well-known Tanner Foust and his colleague driver Scott Speed of the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross started the 2014 season off in two modified Polo rally cars, but that all changes mid-season when they switch to the new GRC Volkswagen Beetle . The menacing little bug pushes some 500-plus horsepower to all four wheels via its turbocharged, direct-injected TSI engine.
Updated 06/20/2014: Volkswagen unveiled the full details on its new Beetle GRC just in time for its racing debut at the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship where it will be driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Beetle GRC.
The standard Beetle is anything but a conventional-looking car, with its arching silhouette, bug-eye headlights and its retro inspiration. So you can only imagine what a rally-bred Beetle could look like, and here it it.
Visually, the Beetle GRC is distinguished by wide shoulders and hips that are attributed to the widebody fenders. These not only help fit larger rims under the car, but also give the quirky racer more imposing stance. It also gets an aggressive front bumper and a gargantuan wing that looks ripped straight from the original Fast and Furious.
Thanks to the added body work, the Beetle GRC is 0.4 inches longer than the base model at 168.4 inches and 0.5 inches wider at 71.7 inches. The weight varies, depending on the equipment the team tosses on the car for various events, but the minimum weight of the GRC is 2,668 pounds, which is 280 less than the base 2014 Beetle.
Powering the Volkswagen Beetle GRC through the remainder of the Global Rallycross Championship is a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, TSI engine. This turbocharged and intercooled unit generates 544 horsepower, a figure that makes it the most powerful third-generation Beetle ever built. Sure, this bug isn’t allowed to roam public streets, but that tiny four-banger has an amazing amount of power at its disposal.
All that oomph hits the wheels through a sequential six-speed transmission. The unit mates to a fixed-ratio, all-wheel-drive system that comes with multiplate, limited-slip differential at the front and rear. The rally car should be able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in only 2.1 seconds. This should enable the Beetle GRC to post some fast stage times and make both Tanner Foust and Scott Speed forget about their previous Volkswagen Polos.
The rally car will tackle the most enduring on- and off-road courses using an all-around strut-type suspension with ZF dampers and 9.1 inches of travel. The 17-inch wheels are wrapped in Yokohama rally-spec tires, while stopping power is provided by 14-inch front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes with four-piston aluminum calipers.
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.
Press Release - June 20, 2014
The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team today unveiled the definitive Beetle GRC rallycross car. The Beetle will run later this season in the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
The team enters the third round of the season, Volkswagen Rallycross D.C., with two victories for Scott Speed driving the No. 7 7UP Volkswagen Polo. Both he and Foust are stoked by the prospect of the Beetle, which features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder TSI® turbocharged and intercooled engine making 544 horsepower. “The Polo has already proved super-competitive,” said Speed, “and we are really looking forward to racing a car that has been engineered specifically by Volkswagen Motorsport for GRC competition.” Foust added: “I know I can’t wait to race the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle. There’s no cooler looking car in the series.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport director, said: “After Volkswagen of America’s impressive start on the rallycross scene with the Polo, the launch of the new Beetle GRC rallycross car represents the next major milestone. The Beetle boasts a unique appearance and state-of-the-art technology. It will sweep fans off their feet.”
This rallycross car is the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle. Designed and engineered from the outset as a GRC car, it features a sequential six-speed transmission, with a fixed-ratio all-wheel-drive system that features multiplate limited-slip differentials at the front and rear.
The car uses an all-around strut-type suspension, with ZF dampers and about 9.1 inches of travel to cope with the rigors of the off-road portion of a rallycross course. The car has 14.0-inch diameter front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes, with four-piston aluminum calipers. The 17-inch wheels are shod with 240/640-R17 Yokohama competition tires.
The Beetle cuts quite a dash with its outsize rear wing, widebody fenders, and aggressive front fascia. Overall, the car is 168.8 inches long and 71.7 inches wide, and has to weigh in at a minimum of 2668 pounds, per series regulations. With this combination of low weight, high horsepower, and all-wheel-drive traction, the Beetle GRC is predicted to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in an incredibly quick 2.1 seconds.