Volkswagen to compete in 39th annual Tecate Score Baja 500
Volkswagen has officially entered two Volkswagen Motorsport Dakar Rally vehicles in this year’s running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, June 1-3, 2007. This will be the first race for the Race Touareg 2 vehicles in North America, and also marks the first ever Volkswagen factory racing entry in the legendary SCORE desert series racing. The Volkswagen team will feature an international cast of Volkswagen works drivers ready to tackle the challenging terrain of the Baja peninsula.
Race Touareg # 81i will be driven by American Mark Miller with his South African co-driver Ralph Pitchford. For Miller, the 45 year old Phoenix, Arizona native, this event will be a unique opportunity to bring together his experience and success from two of the most revered off-road races in the world. He is a five time Baja Champion and the highest finishing American driver ever in a four-wheeled vehicle at Dakar, taking fourth place overall this past January with Pitchford onboard as co-driver.
Piloting Race Touareg # 83i will be South African Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz. While this will be the first SCORE race for de Villiers, the 34 year old driver from Stellenbosch, South Africa, he is very familiar with the turbo diesel powered Race Touareg, having placed second overall in the 2006 Dakar rally.
The Race Touareg 2 is powered by an ‘in-line’ five cylinder, 2.5-liter four-valve per cylinder TDI diesel engine, fitted with a two-stage intercooled turbo-charger system. In this configuration, the engine produces 285 horsepower and over 440 ft.lbs of torque. The engine is positioned longitudinally behind the front suspension, and sends its power to a longitudinally mounted six-speed sequential race gearbox. A permanent four-wheel drive system featuring three mechanical differentials with viscous locking is used to provide superior traction.
“Volkswagen is looking forward to being involved in the 39th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500. It is a tremendously famous racing event worldwide, and running our Race Touaregs in North America is an excellent opportunity for us to show the potential of the Volkswagen TDI diesel engine technology”, said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “It will be a great experience not only from a technical standpoint, but also for our logistics, race preparation and team organization.”
"SCORE is extremely excited to have these two international Volkswagen factory Race Touaregs competing in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500," said Sal Fish, SCORE CEO and President for over 30 years. "We are also looking forward to enjoying the performance of the Volkswagen Turbo Diesel engines in this environment. Volkswagen engines are the most successful in the history of desert racing and this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us involved with this unique and incredible motorsport."