Introduced for the 2013 racing season, the Polo R WRC is Volkswagen’s first WRC-spec factory car since the 1990 Golf Rallye G60. Based on the road-going Polo, the first-gen R WRC was built to second-generation World Rally Car regulations and powered by a turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. The Polo went on to win its maiden WRC season in 2013, putting an end to Citroen’s fantastic five-year run. In 2014, Volkswagen Motorsport shattered its competitors for the second time running, defending both its drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles. For 2015, the Germans are set to tackle the World Rally Championship with a revised iteration of the Polo R WRC, one that has "undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside," according to Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development.

In all, nearly three quarters of last year’s components were optimized, while the already traditional white livery has been replaced with a more complex blue-and-white paint scheme.

While the supermini received significant updates, the teams operating it remained unchanged for the 2015 season. The No. 1 car will be driven by two-time WRC champions Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, while the No. 2 Polo retains its Finnish crew consisting of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. The season debuts on January 22nd with the Monte Carlo Rally and comes to an end on November 15th with the Wales Rally. This year’s WRC includes 13 events in 13 countries and four continents.

Updated 07/31/2015: The guys over Motorvision put up a very interesting test drive: the new Polo R WRC was put face to face with Ski-Weltmeister Aksel Lund Svindal. Check the video out to see who wins this interesting race.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Polo WRC.

  • 2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Except for a few minor nips and tucks, the rear wing is all that’s actually new on the hatchback

Judging by its exterior appearance, Volkswagen decided to not meddle too much with the Polo R WRC’s lightweight shell. In fact, except for a few minor nips and tucks, the rear wing is all that’s actually new on the hatchback. The livery, on the other hand, is quite different, as it no longer features white as a dominating color.

For 2015, the Germans opted to wrap the Polo in a dark-blue front end and a white rear, with white and light-blue stripes helping the two blend together. Naturally, the entire surface of the body was used to promote Volkswagen’s partners in the World Rally Championships, including Red Bull, Castrol and Michelin.

Other than that, the Polo R WRC continues to ride on 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 215/35R18 tires and come to a halt using 16-inch motorsport disc brakes. The flared wheel arches, the modified bumpers and hood, as well as the large roof wing set it apart from the standard Polo (which we can’t buy in the United States, by the way).

Interior

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC Interior
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The interior of the Polo R WRC is a no-nonsense cage equipped with only the essential bits needed to operate a fast rally car

The interior of the Polo R WRC is no-nonsense and cage-equipped with only the essential bits needed to operate a fast rally car. There’s a pair of lightweight, bolstered seats to keep the driver and the co-pilot safe during those rough stages, while the multifunction, Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel brings all the buttons and switches as close as possible to the driver.

Attached to the steering wheel’s column there’s a single shift paddle that enables the driver to operate the new hydraulically activated, six-speed gearbox. Behind it, a petite screen displays the vital information. The production door panels have been replaced by carbon-fiber pieces, while most of the dashboard, as well as the entire center console, has been removed. The stripped interior helped Volkswagen lower the car’s curb weight down to just 2,646 pounds.

Drivetrain

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder cranks out the same 315 horsepower

Volkswagen provided no specifics in regard to the Polo R WRC’s engine for 2015, but it’s safe to assume the turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder cranks out the same 315 horsepower. The big news, however, lies in the transmission department, with Volkswagen claiming the hydraulically activated, six-speed gearbox, which is operated via a shift paddle on the steering column, is the car’s biggest innovation. With the new six-speed transmission, the Polo R WRC should be able to hit 60 mph from a standing start in only 3.7 seconds. Although there’s no information as to which other parts of the drivetrain have been optimized for 2015, my guess is not a single component remained untested for improvements.

Competition

Citroen DS3 WRC

2011 Citroen DS3 WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Introduced in 2011, the DS3 WRC is currently the longest-running active nameplate in the World Rally Championship, and also the most successful alongside the Polo R WRC. Much like the latter, the DS3 WRC went on to win back-to-back championships in its competitive years, continuing the legacy of the C4 WRC. The DS3 WRC is also related to Sebastien Loeb, arguably the most successful rally driver in WRC history with nine consecutive titles between 2004 and 2012.

Defeated by the Polo R WRC in both 2013 and 2014, the DS3 WRC had to settle for second place finishes each year. For 2015, the French racer returns under the Citroen Total Abu Dhaby WRT flag, which fields three different cars, with Kris Meeke, Sebastien Loeb and Mads Ostberg as drivers. Citroen hopes to win its ninth WRC title in 2015, but it all depends on its ability to beat the outstanding Polo R WRC. The DS3 WRC is also powered by a turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a Sadev six-speed sequential transmission.

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

2012 Ford Fiesta RS WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Ford brought the Fiesta to the World Rally Championship in 2011 as a replacement for the Focus RS, which had been used in various versions since 1999. Also powered by a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-pot and six-speed sequential gearbox combo, the Fiesta RS WRC has yet to win the manufacturers’ championship in its four years, but has clinched six victories in 2011 and 2012. As you may have already noticed, the Fiesta failed to score a win since the Polo R WRC joined the series.

In 2015, the Fiesta ST WRC is being used by three different team: Britain’s M-Sport World Rally Team, the Czech Republic’s Jipocar Czech National Team and Italy’s FWRT s.r.l.. Ford definitely aims for a better position than last year’s third place finish, behind Volkswagen and Citroen.

Hyundai i20 WRC

2014 Hyundai i20 WRC High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Having made its debut at the 2014 Monte Carlo Rally, the i20 WRC is the newest member of the WRC roster. Developed by Hyundai’s newly formed N performance division, the i20 WRC finished its maiden season with one win and three more podiums to its name, helping the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team obtain fourth position in the manufacturers’ championship.

Two entrants will be using the i20 WRC throughout 2015, Hyundai Motorsport and Hyundai Motorsport N, both factory-backed teams. Driving duties will be handled by Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Kevin Abbring and Hayden Paddon.

Conclusion

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Needless to say, we already know the Polo R WRC is a fantastic rally car just by looking at its past achievements. In just two years, the German supermini scored no less than 22 wins in 26 events, a massive amount of championship points and back-to-back drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles. Unbeatable is the best word I can use to describe the Polo R WRC ahead of the 2015 season, and I have a hunch I’ll be using the same word at the end of the year. I’m no fortune-teller, but Volkswagen seems stronger than ever and it’ll be quite a shocker if the Germans do not clinch their third consecutive WRC title in 2015.

  • Leave it
    • * WRC might become boring with the Polo winning yet another season
    • * Keep an eye on the Hyundai i20 WRC

Press Release

In top form, both technically and visually: Volkswagen has presented the second generation of the Polo R WRC in Autostadt, Wolfsburg. The works team from Wolfsburg has its sights set firmly on another successful defence of its titles in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a new car and a new look. Volkswagen completed a clean sweep of all the World Championship titles when the Polo R WRC made its debut in 2013, before repeating this impressive feat last season. Continuity is the key to the driving line-up for 2015: double world champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and team- mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) will roll down the starting ramp and head onto the first special stage of the year for Volkswagen at the legendary Rally Monte Carlo on 22 January.

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior
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“The new Polo R WRC has undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside,” said Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development. “Not only dmore dynamic and sporty than it did before, but our engineers have also been working meticulously on technical innovations under the bonnet and have improved many detailed aspects of the package that has been so successful for the past two years. The focus of this further development was on efficiency, reliability and performance. We can hardly wait to see the new Polo R WRC in Monte Carlo and at the other twelve rallies on four continents.”

Title defence in blue, blue and white: new design for the next generation of Polo R WRC

The most striking change to the Polo R WRC for the 2015 season is its exterior. The white has given way to dark-blue. White and light-blue stripes see the dark-blue front merge into the white rear, which features a towering new rear wing. Also integrated in the new design are Volkswagen’s other partners in the World Rally Championship: Red Bull, lubricant partner Castrol, Volkswagen Financial Services, tyre partner Michelin, chassis and clutch specialist ZF Sachs, and supplier OMP.

Volkswagen engineers have been hard at work implementing many new ideas under the bonnet. The hydraulically activated gearbox, which is operated via a shift paddle on the steering column, represents the biggest innovation. Furthermore, three quarters of last year’s components were checked and many of them optimised, with the aim of making everything “simpler, lighter, and stronger”.

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Quotes ahead of the WRC season

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“I am very optimistic that the new car will get off to just as good a start as its predecessor. We have done a lot of testing and we drivers have worked very closely with the engineers. We put a lot of effort into developing the new shift paddle, which represents real progress. We are looking forward to the new season. It will be exciting to see how we fare against the other teams. The tests have gone well so far, and our engineers have done a good job. The Polo R WRC is even better than it was before.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“The new car feels really good, and we are ready for the new season – at last. We will be using the shift paddle on the steering wheel to change gear this year, and I really like it. On the whole, the new Polo is faster and even better than the 2014 car. I am not the only one to feel that way – Sébastien and Andreas agree with me. There is no question about it, we are looking forward to the 2015 season.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“First and foremost: the new design is really cool. I really like the new colours and new design, and am even a little bit prouder to be driving the Polo R WRC. I will still be driving the 2014 Polo at the start of the season, and will not switch to the ‘new’ car until the Rally Portugal. However, that is no problem. After all, our world championship winning car has more than proven itself, and is certainly anything but slow.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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“A launch like ours today is always a welcome sign that the start of the season is upon us. The whole team has worked long and hard to ensure that we are ready for the Rally Monte Carlo. Today has given us the final boost emotionally. It is fantastic that the Volkswagen Board and employees support us so enthusiastically. Motorsport receives huge interest and backing at Volkswagen. It is now important to repay this support over the course of the new season.”

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