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2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

The Germans are working on a more powerful, aerodynamic WRC weapon

Introduced for the 2013 racing season as Volkswagen’s first WRC-spec factory car since the 1990 Golf Rally G60, the Polo R WRC went on to dominate the sport by winning three back-to-back World Rally Championships through 2015. Having dominated each and every season since it returned to WRC, Volkswagen is gunning for more success starting 2017 with a new Polo-based racer.

Under development since summer 2015, when the FIA released the new regulations for the World Rally Car class, the 2017 Polo R WRC is previewed as a significant improvement over its predecessor. Just like any evolution out there, the new rally-spec compact is set to be lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamic. In other words, Ford and Hyundai have plenty of things to worry about for 2017 if they don’t shape up over the next 12 months.

Details about the next-gen Polo R WRC are still very limited, and the actual car was only shown as a rendering, but Volkswagen provided just enough information for us to have a closer look at Wolfsburg’s upcoming rally weapon. An unveiling is planned toward the end of 2016 with the official debut to take place at the Rally Monte Carlo in January 2017. Stay tuned for updates!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC.

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2015 Ford Fiesta R2

2015 Ford Fiesta R2

Ford launched its Fiesta R2 program back in 2010 to help young and inexperienced drivers learn the ropes of rally racing and move their way up the ladder in the sport. From the R2, the ladder moves drivers up to the Fiesta R5 and later up to the RS WRC, but they must first master this lower-powered rig, and dominate all the other drivers that Ford is testing. For the 2015 racing season, Ford has launched a new Fiesta R2, and it debuted the model at the Geneva Auto Show.

This new subcompact rally rig features Ford’s award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, but its wick is turned up beyond its standard 123-horsepower mark. This small-displacement, "relatively" low-powered engine is a great jumping-off point for up-and-coming rally drivers, as it helps them focus on controlling the car rather than reining in a super-powerful engine.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Ford Fiesta R2.

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2015 Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE

2015 Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE

“Dominant” is one word that springs to mind when considering the Ford Fiesta’s performance in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). Going into the 2014 season, the supermini was responsible for three driver’s championships and three manufacturer’s championships, each claimed consecutively since the series’ launch in 2011. In 2013, the Fiesta won nine of the 10 scheduled races and claimed 22 of the 30 available podium spots. Last year, this American-bred hatchback added to its already impressive record with yet another driver’s championship, another manufacturer’s championship, three race wins, and 18 podiums.

Of the six different teams flying under a blue oval in the 2014 GRC season, Sweden’s Olsbergs MSE was undoubtedly the best. While other Fords contributed to the automaker’s overall series supremacy, it’s only Olsbergs MSE that can currently boast a four-peat championship drive, with Tanner Foust crowned winner in 2011 and 2012, followed by Toomas Heikkinen in 2013, and Joni Wiman in 2014.

The Fiesta has a long history of rally competition success, with different versions of the party-maker entered in series both nationally and internationally. But somehow, it’s the Olsbergs MSE Fiesta that comes out on top every time at GRC.

So, what is it that makes this Fiesta ST so successful? Part of it is the talent behind the wheel, which in 2014, included Patrik Sandell, Brian Deegan, Nelson Piquet Jr., and the new reigning champion, Joni Wiman. The other half of the equation is the team itself, which works closely with Ford to develop the Fiesta ST platform to its utmost potential. Olsbergs MSE is also responsible for a variety of GRC Supercar Lites, which extends its competition knowledge even further.

Like any good racing team, Olsbergs MSE is always in development, constantly building on past successes, solidifying its lead around a competitive field hungry for victory. Simply put, it’s a philosophy that translates into trophies.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE.

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2015 Subaru WRX STI - Driven

2015 Subaru WRX STI - Driven

The Subaru WRX STI has enjoyed a rich history over the last 20 years here in the U.S., with the first model officially hitting our shores in 1994. The hopped-up version of the Impreza came from Subaru’s skunkworks division, Subaru Tecnica International and featured 250 horsepower from its flat four-cylinder and of course, all-wheel drive. Now while the Impreza sedan moved into a new generation in 2011, Subaru left the WRX STI stuck in the third generation through 2014. Essentially the automaker was building two generations of cars simultaneously, just for the STI crowd. As 2015 rolls around, Subaru has moved the WRX STI onto the new Impreza platform while keeping the same 2.5-liter, turbo flat-four as before, but adding all the welcomed improvements with the fourth-gen car. It also dropped the Impreza name, leaving just the Subaru WRX STI nomenclature on the window sticker.

I recently spent a week with the new and improved 2015 STI, flogging it around dirt roads and twisty tarmac, driving it as it should be driven. I also babied it down country highways and interstate jaunts to squeeze every last drop of fuel and treated it like a daily driver.

So does the new car live up to its rally heritage while giving owners more comfort and conveniences? Keep reading to find out.

Click past the jump for more on the 2015 Subaru WRX STI

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2015 Toyota GT86 CS-R3 Rally Car

2015 Toyota GT86 CS-R3 Rally Car

The Toyota GT86 was launched in 2012, along with its Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S siblings. Although the GT86 was only sold in Europe, both the BRZ and the FR-S arrived in the United States for the 2013 model year. All three sports cars share the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, boxer engine that delivers 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The powerplant mates to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic and enables each of the triplets to sprint from naught to 60 mph in 6.9 to 7.6 seconds, respectively. Far from being one of the fastest sports car on the market, the Toyota GT86 is definitely one of the most affordable, a feat that made it quite popular with consumers.

As we move into the 2015 model year, Toyobaru has yet to introduce the highly anticipated performance update the GT86/BRZ/FR-S dearly needs. However, the GT86 nameplate expanded to receive a brand-new member in the shape of a rally car. Yes folks, Toyota is joining the World Rally Championship with an R3-spec version of its sports car. The race-ready GT86 is not only more powerful, but lighter too, and it just fired up our enthusiasm toward a faster road-going version.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota GT86 CS-R3 Rally Car.

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2014 Audi S1 Supercar By EKS

2014 Audi S1 Supercar By EKS

The inaugural FIA World Rallycross Championship is set to open its season this weekend at Montalegre, Portugal, and just ahead of the start of this new series, one team has already dropped teasers on the car it plans to use for the year. EKS is competing in the World RX Championship and its got a driver in Mattias who has won just about everything he’s competed in. More importantly, Ekström and EKS are preparing a hellacious race car in the name of the EKS Audi S1 Supercar.

The car itself is based on the Audi S1, except that this one has been modified and customized for the sole purpose of turning it into a powerful race car. Preparations to turn the EKS S1 Supercar into a full-fledged racer are already underway, and the early returns are nothing short of incredible. One of the details that has been divulged about the S1 is its powertrain, which comes in the form of a 2.0-liter turbo four with 600 horsepower, all-wheel drive and a 0-to-60-mph time of 1.9 seconds.

Ekström will be debuting the S1 Supercar in time for the World RX stage of Great Britain, the second race of the World RX season. The Swedish driver is going to compete against an impressive lineup of drivers that include Tanner Foust, Ken Block, and Jacques Villeneuve. But with a car like the EKS S1 Supercar at his disposal, we’re confident that Ekström and EKS will field a competitive team in the first season of the World RX Championship.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi S1 Supercar By EKS.

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2014 Hyundai i20 WRC by Hyundai Shell World Rally Team

2014 Hyundai i20 WRC by Hyundai Shell World Rally Team

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

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2013 Renault Clio R3T Rally Car

2013 Renault Clio R3T Rally Car

With the launch of the new Renault Clio, it was only right for Renault to also give an update to its existing rally car, the Clio Renaultsport R3. After all, it’s been seven years since the R3 first hit the rally scene so it’s high time that a new one shows its face, right?

Well, Renault Sport Technologies is acquiescing and has released new information about the R3’s successor, the Clio Renaultsport R3T rally car. Set to launch in 2014, the R3T was built to comply with current FIA R3 regulations, which will now come with at least a turbocharged version of the car’s existing 1.6-liter engine that Renault Sport engineers have continuously adapted to racing specifications.

In addition to the revised engine, the R3T will also come with a host of modifications, specifically built and developed for rally purposes. Among these include a new six-speed sequential transmission with optional steering-wheel paddle shifters in the asphalt version, as well as specialized equipment, including Sadev gearboxes, Sachs shock absorbers, PFC brakes, and Cosworth electronics.

All these updates should give the Clio Renaultsport R3T an impressive package that will create interest from rally teams all over the world. The model isn’t expected to gain approval until the latter part of 2014, but Renault wants to make sure that the returns end up becoming worth the wait.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Renault Clio

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2014 Toyota GT 86 CS-R3 Rally Car

2014 Toyota GT 86 CS-R3 Rally Car

The popularity of the Toyota GT 86 has resulted in the sports coupe being transformed in a variety of ways, but in all that time, it’s never been turned into a rally car.

Well, Toyota’s motorsport partner TMG wants to change all of that with the introduction of the Toyota GT 86 CS-R3 — a rear-wheel-drive rally car based on the GT 86. The company is targeting the FIA’s new R3C rally category and it’s prepared to go balls to the wall with the rally-spec setup of the CS-R3.

For starters, TMG says its planning to use the GT 86 CS-V3 an endurance racecar based on the sports coupe, as the baseline for the rally racer. Engine modifications are on tap, as are improved brakes, a new transmission, and what we can only imagine to be an aesthetically pleasing body that will exude that go-get-dirty rally spirit.

The CS-R3 is also being built to compete in the World Rally Championship with its intended class being the lower R3 division. Nevertheless, the car is expected to be finished and ready for customer teams in time for the 2015 season, giving TMG and Toyota enough time to work their magic in giving the GT 86 CS-R3 a new rally twist. No word on pricing yet, but expect an announcement in the next several months.

Click past the jump to read about the 2013 Toyota GT 86 CS-V3

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2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution - Driven

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution - Driven

Updated 10/17/2013: This review has been updated with video reviews of the GSR version, and a memory-card full of high-resolution photos of this Cosmic Blue stunner.

Since spending a week with Mitsubishi’s gorgeous 2014 Lancer Evo GSR, I came to appreciate many things that make this such an incredible lap attack car, but also a great daily driver with incredible torque.

The legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution returns for 2014 with a new touchscreen infotainment unit to enhance the interior of one of the finest road-going rally race cars ever produced. The Evo’s flypaper grip on tarmac, snow and gravel continues with two trim levels and sprint times that are as low as 4.5 seconds to 60 mph.

The Mitsu’s competitive landscape has changed significantly since this Evo X generation arrived more than four years ago. It largely demolishes the current-gen the Subaru WRX STi on all but the roughest gravel roads, but this comes with a higher-than-expected cost.

With prices creeping past the $40,000 mark on well-optioned 2014 Evolution MR models, the modest Lancer variant now faces competition from the more-powerful BMW 135i and upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. These Germans are each packing well over 325 horsepower and are able to match the Evo’s turbocharged punch with much-more-refined image and interior comfort levels.

While it is true that prices can climb to the luxury level in MR trim with options, the most accessible Evo remains the $35,000 GSR model with a five-speed manual and fewer pricey party tricks in the suspension and transmission. All Evo’s, of course, leverage the brilliant computer-managed AWD system with its crushingly effective yaw control and active torque vectoring.

The Evolution’s cult audience is thrilled to have this 10th gen car available for another year. More time on the market also means a huge pool of aftermarket support and even factory accessories like front and rear strut braces, a front air dam and full racing body kits – right from the local Mitsubishi dealer.

Are the Evo’s world-beating capabilities still intact and on top in one of its final years on the market? Will this generation be known as one of the best when the long-rumored hybrid powertrain brings changes to the Evo’s driving style in 2015 or 2016?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, with detailed comparisons between the Evo GSR manual and the Evo MR twin-clutch models.

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2014 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

2014 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

The 2014 STI risks getting lost in the shuffle of the next-gen WRX’s launch at this fall’s Los Angeles auto show. As is customary for Subaru when upgrading the Impreza-based models, the next-gen STI will follow the regular WRX as a projected 2016 model year intro.

That is more than enough time to fall in love again with the current model’s brash styling, forceful turbocharged power delivery, and better tech integration in the cockpit than ever before. 305 horsepower and a 4.7-second sprint to 60 mph means the WRX STI is still a favorite here in the TopSpeed Garage.

Introduced for 2011, the current STI’s strength as a Subaru performance flagship is fully intact. As a low-volume model, its boxer rumble casts a performance glow over even the base $18,000 Impreza sedan. No changes to the STI for 2014, aside from the audio system now offering integration of Aha’s music app.

First-hand driving impressions of this track toy are included, as are comparisons with the WRX STI’s potent competition from the BMW 135i and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Garage review of the 2014 Subaru WRX STI, still a game-changer with wild turbo boost and AWD traction to make every corner seem like a straightaway.

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport H360 Summer Edition

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport H360 Summer Edition

Mitsubishi just revealed a pair of fitness and adventure-themed concepts, based on the best-selling Outlander and Outlander Sport. The Summer Edition is a thorough personalization effort, on par with the high-dollar luxury car makeovers from Kahn Design.

The custom Outlander Sport shows off: unique burnt orange metallic paintwork and 20-inch Vossen wheels, with matching satin graphite accents all around and sticky track tires. The wheel size jumps a full 2 inches over the 18-inch rims that are otherwise standard on all the Outlander Sport trims, which start from just $19,170 in manual front-drive configuration.

This H360 Summer Edition is based on the higher-range model, with a SportTronic paddle shift automatic and Mitsubishi’s AWC four-wheel-drive system. Thule roof bars and matching Trek bikes are only a preview of the inside of this fitness machine.

Created with the help of celebrity fitness coach Jay Cardiello, the Outlander Sport Summer Edition is packing some bold color accents and numerous fitness and outdoor adventure gear. Hard-wired chargers are awesome details for the built-in GoPro and iPad mini in the grey suede headlining.

Click past the jump to get a closer look at those semi-slick Nitto 420S tires of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport H360 Summer Edition.

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2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter

2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter

The Local Motors Rally Fighter is still going strong two years after the first deliveries of this 2000-unit purpose-built off-road racer’s production run. With 50-state compliance on lighting and emissions, the road-legal Rally Fighter runs a 6.2-liter V-8 to the giant rear wheels before reaching a tire-limited top speed of 131 mph.

Available for special orders from anywhere on the globe, the Rally Fighter is one of the most unique and exciting launch models from a new manufacturer. Outside the muddy ruts of the English countryside and the mutant Land Rovers, like the Bowler EXR-S and RallyRaid DW3, most new supercar ventures are focused on the 6-lane drag strips of central Dubai.

Local Motors takes a totally different path, with its unique engineering and prototype method leveraging the passion and skills of the internet to draw in R&D talent from across the world.

The result is a steel space frame and crash cage that looks Armageddon-proof, and suspension travel and off-road prowess to stop a 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition in its tracks. The final piece of the Rally Fighter puzzle is this: styling so otherworldly that it causes more of a stir in traffic than taking the Gravedigger monster truck to the grocery store.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter, including a mega image gallery, links to the new online configurator, and info on how to order your own custom version of this off-road beast.

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2014 Ford Ranger Dakar Rally

2014 Ford Ranger Dakar Rally

Did you know that over 1 billion people tune in to watch the Dakar Rally?

That’s a staggering number for a race that used to run from Paris to Dakar until 2008 and then moved to South America from 2009 until the present time. Next year, the Dakar Rally returns to the spotlight, running from Rosario, Argentina all the way to Valparaiso, Chile.

Ford has always been one of the brands that regularly participates in the rally and for the 2014 installment, the automaker is bringing a pair of Ford Rangers for the 5,281-mile race to Chile.

Mind you, these aren’t your typical T6 Ranger 4×4 Double Cabs that will brave the elements in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Built and prepared by Neil Woolridge Motorsport, the Ranger Dakar Rally has been carefully tinkered with to be able to withstand grueling terrain. Both pickups were fitted with 5.0-liter V-8 engines, each producing an impressive 349 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 413 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. These powerful engines mate to a Sadev six-speed sequential transmission that links to a four-wheel-drive setup.

More than just its performance capabilities, the Ranger Dakar Rally pickup racers were also given the full race-spec treatment, complete with modified front and rear suspension, anti-roll bars on both sides of the pickup, and a set of 16-inch Evocorse wheels wrapped in race-spec Michelin tires.

With a grueling race like Dakar, fuel efficiency is very important in ensuring that the racers last the whole 13-day run. Fortunately, these Rangers are more than capable of that task, thanks to a fuel consumption rating that runs between 28 liters/100 km (8.4 mpg) and 90 liters/100 km (2.6 mpg), when driving in sandy racing conditions.

The race begins on January 5, 2014 and runs until the 18th of the same month. It’s still a little ways down the road, but it’s exciting knowing that participating teams are already gearing up for the event in their own way.

Click past the jump to read about the Ford Ranger

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2013 Dodge Dart Rallycross Car

2013 Dodge Dart Rallycross Car

Even though it is new to the market, the Dodge Dart has already made its rally debut in the 2012 Global RallyCross Championship. For the 2013 racing season, this hopped-up Dart will once again return to the track with Travis Pastrana behind the wheel. Last year, the Dart scored its first victory in the fourth race of the season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Dodge hopes that the same success will also repeat this year and has sent two Dart racing cars in the competition. Unlike the standard Dart, the Dart Rallycross Car delivers a total of about 600 horsepower through an all-wheel-drive system. With the extra 416 horsepower, the new Dart Rallycross Car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds.

The new Dodge Dart Rallycross Car will be driven in the season opener on April 21st in Brazil.

Hit the jump to read more on the Dodge Dart.

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2013 Peugeot 208 GTi Peugeot Sport

2013 Peugeot 208 GTi Peugeot Sport

We’ve already seen three racing versions of the Peugeot 208, with the latest one being the Peugeot 208 R2 Rally Car. Well, now the French automaker is prepared to release the fourth racing variant in the form of the 208 GTi Peugeot Sport.

On the outside, you get the typical Peugeot racing livery, which includes: blue, yellow, black and red striping, a monstrous rear wing, and various sponsor stickers. You also get a set of black rims sized 18 inches wrapped up in racing tires. The entire car comes in at a svelte 990 kg (2,182 pounds).

Under the hood, the 208 GTi features a 1,600 cc turbocharged engine, which it borrows from its road-going variant. Depending on the racing regulations, Peugeot Sport will tune this powerplant to between 200 and 300 horsepower. The engine hooks up to a six-speed gearbox with paddle shifters. Keeping the 208 GTi fed with plenty of fuel is a 100-liter (26.4-gallon) gas tank, which allows this racer to stay on the track longer between fill-ups.

The GTi Peugeot Sport will make its racing debut at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in May. Unfortunately, Peugeot has not revealed any pricing details.

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2014 Ford Fiesta ST Rockstar Energy Drink Race Car

2014 Ford Fiesta ST Rockstar Energy Drink Race Car

Racer, stunt driver, and television host, Tanner Foust, has had a lot on his plate recently. But even though he’s being thrust to juggle all these responsibilities, the man still can’t get away from doing what he does best: rally racing.

Recently, Foust unveiled his newly dressed Ford Fiesta ST rally car, which made its first public appearance over the weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Dressed in the familiar black and yellow paint scheme of sponsor Rockstar Energy Drink, the new rally car gets a host of added designs. Particularly standing out is the red and orange splash on the car as well as new sticker liveries bearing Foust’s sponsors, including new partners Illest as the new apparel partner, ODYSSEY battery, and Horizon Hobbies, which will produce Foust’s own line of R/C cars.

It is expected that the rally car will be powered by a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo four engine with an output of 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque.

The model itself is based on the recently launched Fiesta ST Global RallyCross Championship that was first unveiled at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. Foust is one of three drivers that will get the first dibs on the cars with the other two being Brian Deegan and Ken Block.

For now, it’s Foust’s turn to showcase his new rally ride, which he said will focus more on pure rallycross. What that means is that you can expect to see Foust and his new rally car compete in the X-Games, the Global Rallycross Championship and the European Rallycross Championship.

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2013 Opel Adam Rallye R2

2013 Opel Adam Rallye R2

At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Opel will be unveiling not one, but two Adam concept cars. We already showed you the Adam Rocks Concept; now it’s time for the Adam Rallye R2 to have its face time.

Built in compliance with FIA R2 regulations, the Adam Rallye R2 comes with a number of special body components Opel picked from its OPC product line. The most notable, at least when you look at the rally car closely, are the quick-release catches on the hood and tailgate and the under-ride guards on the front and rear.

Inside, you can expect a host of rally-spec interior components, including an integrated safety structure, HANS-compatible SPARCO Competition racing seats, a cockpit with an LCD gear indicator, control light and MONIT trip computer, a central control panel, a map reading light and an electric fire extinguisher.

As far as the engine is concerned, the Adam Rallye R2 is powered by a 1.6-liter ECOTEC 16V engine with variable camshaft phasing that produces 185 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque when adjusted to its racing configurations. In addition, the rally car also carries an adjustable chassis setup with asphalt and gravel settings, providing the kind of traction and handling needed for a rally car. The car’s brakes are taken care of by a hydraulic ‘fly-off’ handbrake to go with Brembo four-piston front brake calipers.

Full details of the Opel Adam Rallye R2 will be unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

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2013 Peugeot 208 T16 (Type R5) Rally Car

2013 Peugeot 208 T16 (Type R5) Rally Car

French automaker Peugeot has been a staple in the rally scene for as long as we can remember. So when word leaks out that they’re planning to reveal their next generation rally car, people tend to take notice.

At the 2012 Paris Motor Show later this month, Peugeot is bringing the all-new 208 Type R5, the car that’s slated to become their new prized steed at the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Needless to say, the 208 Type R5 has some pretty big shoes to fill in large part because its successor, the 207 Super 2000, rang up championships - three IRC drivers and manufacturers titles - during its time at the IRC.

The racer will have to adhere to regulations set by S2000 category. What that means is that the 208 Type R5 has been fitted with a number of racing components, including widened tracks, a spoiler, an increase in the wheel arches to accommodate a new set of 18" wheels. All these were done while keeping attention on the series’ minimum weight set of 1,200kg for the gravel and asphalt versions.

"Based on an optimisation of costs", explains Bertrand Vallat, the Type R5’s project leader, "the regulations impose, among other things, a maximum price for certain parts and technical limitations such as a minimum weight of components of the chassis and engine. In addition, a certain number of components of the vehicle must be similar. The hub carrier is a perfect example. All four must be identical. This makes operation considerably easier and limits costs and stocking."

The 208 Type R5 is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo engine that produces 280 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 295 lb/ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. The four-wheel drive system sends power to all four wheels thanks to a 5-speed sequential gearbox and two self-locking differentials.

As far as expectations are concerned, Peugeot is shooting for the stars, Vallat said: “The regulations impose, among other things, a maximum price for certain parts and technical limitations such as a minimum weight of components of the chassis and engine.”

“We are aiming for performance which is slightly higher than S2000,” he adds.

UPDATE 1/25/2013: The 208 Type R5 has just completed its second round of testing and it is all set to be delivered. According the Peugeot, it will open its order book in March 2013, so race teams mark your calenders!

UPDATE 05/01/13: The 208 Type R5 has been re-christened as the 208 T16 and Peugeot has released a new video of the rally car in action. Check it out by clicking on the photo above.

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2013 Scion xD Rally Car

2013 Scion xD Rally Car

Unlike Subaru, Scion is still a relative newbie to the Rally America scene, having only raced in the series for one year before this season. But now that it’s got its maiden experience out of the way, Scion is preparing to be more of a factor in the series’ two-wheel-drive class.

Championing their cause is the new 2013 Scion xD Rally Car, an innocuous model that has been turned into a full-fledged rally car with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that has likewise been force-fed with a GReddy turbocharger. Add some rally-spec components, redesign the interior for rally purposes, slap on the obligatory sponsor logos, and you have a race car that’s primed and ready to get down and dirty.

The make the xD Rally Car more competitive this year, scion bumped up its horsepower – the amount remains undisclosed, of course – added in an all-new suspension system and better balanced the awkward-looking xD’s weight distribution.

Of course, Scion has no illusions of being a straight-up contender to the mighty Subaru team. But considering that they’re just entering their second year of competition, we’d be very disappointed if Scion doesn’t build on the foundation they set last year and get some winning results in the two-wheel-drive class.

Click past the jump to read Scion’s full press release

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2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC Rally Car

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC Rally Car

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.

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