WRC

WRC

The importance of Volkswagen ’s Polo R WRC racer cannot be overstated. Designed specifically for the new rules that went into effect for the 2013 season, the Polo R dominated the World Rally Championship, knocking Citroen from the top of the podium for the first time in nearly a decade.

That last fact is what needs to resonate the most. The Polo R WRC ended a nine-year domination of the sport. When you have one man, or one team that is unstoppable in any form of competition, it ceases to become a competition. When you know who will win, it isn’t very much fun to watch, unless you happen to be a fan of the winner.

Volkswagen can’t afford to rest on its laurels though. The 2014 season represents a whole new competition, and Citroen is no doubt making plans to take back the title of World Champion.

As such, Volkswagen has announced its car for the 2014 WRC season, and it has been kind enough to share a few of the important changes it has made. Apart from the obvious visual changes on the new rally car , Volkswagen has spent much of its time perfecting engine components and improving the overall stability of the car through ECU flashes and the alteration of chassis components. Other than the 315-horsepower four-pot under the hood, Volkswagen didn’t dive too far into the details of what’s changed under the skin, as it is hoping to surprise its rivals once again this year.

The first race of the season, Rallye Monte Carlo, is taking place this week and Volkswagen is off to a promising start as they secured the fastest time in the testing stage. That said, Citroen was only 1.2 seconds off pace, and only 3.5 seconds separate first and seventh, so the racing should be close.

Ladies and Gentleman, Volkswagen has brought the excitement back to the World Rally Championship.

Click past the jump to read more on the WRC.

Despite all the focus on the Detroit International Auto Show this week, Motorsports around the world are still continuing. Starting tomorrow, January 14th, the World Rally Championship kicks off in Monte Carlo with the opening ceremonies. Drivers and navigators commence their “shakedown” runs of the course the following day, while the race officially begins on Thursday the 16th and continues to Sunday the 19th.

WRC is one of the most intense motorsports with wildly varying terrain ranging from gravel, mud, and snow to smooth pavement. Massive jumps and wrecks make watching WRC an edge-of-your-seat experience while the competition between drivers and sponsors keeps the excitement stirred.

The infographic after the jump lays out some interesting facts about the upcoming race and how the entire event is organized. Trekking between Monte Carlo and France, the race has different stages and sections – all designed to challenge both man and machine as they race against the clock.

Click past the jump for the full infographic

It may have taken longer than a lot of people would have liked, but that’s the price you pay if you’re a company that’s looking to break ground in a racing series it hasn’t entered since 2003..

After a year of testing and development, Hyundai has finally pulled the covers off of the i20 World Rally Championship racecar. And if we do say so ourselves, it looks positively glorious.

The unveiling happened at a recent event in Frankfurt when the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team officially announced that it had finally wrapped up the project in time for next season’s WRC season. Lead driver, Thierry Neuville, was given the honor of presenting the car with teammate Juho Hänninen serving as the driver of the second vehicle.

Earlier this year, Hyundai presented an updated version of the racecar at the Geneva Motor Show yet it was clear that the show car at the event was still a long ways away from being completed. This one, though, is the final product, and it comes complete with all the cursory aerodynamic modifications set to rally specifications, not to mention a cavalcade of graphics and liveries that show all of the team’s partners for next year’s WRC season.

Updates to the chassis and suspension were of importance for the team, seeing as it will be tackling a racing series that will feature its share of bumpy roads. There’s also a new rear wing, a front spoiler, and an interior that’s been redesigned specifically for rally purposes.

Based on our estimates, the 2014 Hyundai i20 WRC racecar is likely to receive a 1.6-liter, in-line-four engine that produces close to 300 horsepower, which should be good enough to hit 60 mph in five to six seconds to go with a top speed of about 160 mph.

Click past the jump to read about the previous incarnation of the Hyundai i20 WRC, the one that we saw at Geneva last March

Setting a world record is no small feat, especially when you’re doing it in less-than-ideal circumstances.

That’s why WRC racer, Mads Ostberg, deserves a raucous round of applause after setting a new world-record for the longest ever jump on snow by a rally car. Driving a Ford Fiesta WRC , Ostberg managed to fly his little race car over 60 meters (196.85 feet) in Trysil, Norway.

The World Rally Championship corroborated the record, posting Ostberg’s record-setting jump on its official Twitter account.

While the record is in itself an impressive accomplishment, it still fell way short of the overall jump record of 82 meters (269 feet) that Travis Pastrana accomplished a few years back when he jumped into a barge in the middle of the sea back on New Year’s Eve 2010.

Still, Ostberg’s attempt is impressive in its own right, considering the circumstances he had to deal with in order to set the record. Like we said, give the man his due props.

Check out Pastrana’s record jump after the, well, jump

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.

Pending the final release of the 2012 WRC standings, the Citroën DS3 WRC is a two-time World Rally Championship champion, which just solidifies the fact that it knows a thing or two about racing. On the heels of this championship, Citroën is set to debut yet another racecar, but this time around, it is for private owners only.

This new model, dubbed the Citroën DS3 RRC, is designed to run at rally levels just below the WRC, like the European Rally Championship (ERC), WRC-2, Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) or other national championships. Citroën was very careful in its homologation of this model to make 100 percent certain it wasn’t stepping on its own tailpipe.

So can this baby-brother version of the championship-winning Citroën DS3 WRC be held up to the same relative standard as its big brother?

Click past the jump to read all about the Citroën DS3 RRC and find out.

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

Just days ago we let you know that Mini pretty much used FIA homologation rules to its advantage by finishing up the 2012 season and calling it quits, now another manufacturer is following suit. There have been rumors floating around since 2011 that Ford Europe was going to pull out of the World Rally Championship and that will become a reality following the 2012 season, as Ford Europe announced that it will pull its sponsorship following the 2012 season.

Unlike Mini , Ford has been a long-running sponsor, lasting 16 seasons. With that long of a history, it is more obvious that Ford’s pull out is mostly due to the crumbling automotive market in Europe. Despite pulling its sponsorship, Ford will provide M-Sport, its WRC partner since 1997, with the Fiesta R5 rally car , along with engineering and vehicle support following its departure. In addition, Ford Europe will still offer the Fiesta R2 rally car for grass-roots national and regional driver programs.

It looks like we are in for a drastically changed lineup for the 2013 WRC season, and we’re not even through the 2012 season yet. Hopefully no more manufacturers pull out this year.

Click past the jump to read Ford’s official press release.

Mini Countryman WRC

The Mini Portugal team, along with its WRC partner, Prodrive, actually started off pretty well in the 2012 WRC season, but things turned sour for the MINI rally team following its breakup with said partner. Following the March split, Mini never reached the podium again. Though the 2012 season is not quite finished, Mini has announced that it will withdraw from the World Rally Championship following this season.

In all honesty this really comes as no surprise, as Mini is thought to have only raced as a factory sponsored brand this year to get WRC homologation. Why is that so important? Well, this means that Mini now can sell its rally cars to private racing companies, make profit, and have zero racing overhead. This was all backed up by Dr. Kay Segler’s statement “By the end of the season WRC Team Mini Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the Mini John Cooper Works.” Well, don’t make it too obvious that you played the system, fine Doctor…

In all honesty, this is just one of the necessary evils of the racing world, as car manufacturers simply want all of the free advertising at these events without any of the corporate responsibilities. So in all honesty, we can’t fault Mini for its obvious using the rather loose WRC homologation rules.

With the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car pumping a wild 300 horsepower and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque from its little 1.6-liter Bimmer engine, we doubt that MINI will have any issues selling it to private teams. Since 2011, the rally Mini Portugal team made it to the podium three times and had its biggest success in the January 2012 running of the Monte Carlo Rally when it finished 2nd.

We’ll keep an eye out to see if any private teams select Mini as its WRC car.

Click past the jump to read Mini’s presser.

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.

Posted on by Alexander + 3

Ken Block has accomplished many things in his career, including being a professional rally driver with the Monster World Rally Team , one of the co-founders and recently appointed Chief Brand Officer of DC Shoes, and a major competitor in skateboarding, snowboarding, and motocross races. All of those accomplishments aside, the one thing Block is mainly known for is being the man behind Gymkhana.

For those living under a rock, Gymkhana is an automotive sport that requires drivers to skillfully maneuver using their car around obstacles using extreme acceleration, braking, and drifting. The definition on its own sounds cool as hell, but seeing it in action is way better, which is why Gymkhana has become such a viral phenomenon in recent years. As of 06/01/2012, the Gymkhana franchise has raked in 135 million views on YouTube, surpassing even the most watched TV broadcast ever - 2012 SuperBowl - which received 111 million views this year. Gymkhana even took the title of the most shared viral ad of 2011 with over two million shares of Gymkhana 4.

This infographic breaks down Gymkhana to explain why it has become such a phenomenon, including a few details about Ken Block, details behind the Gymkhana car, and an explanation of the Gymkhana livery. Take a look and learn how it took only seven seconds to burnout the tires during the final spin of Gymkhana 4. This will definitely not be a time-waster.

Hit the jump to check out the full Gymkhana infographic and stay tuned for the next installment in our Car Infographics series .

Source: DC Shoes

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