When the production models gains massive fenders and a rear wing

Established in 2015, the TCR series has become increasingly popular with each season, now being contested by several automakers from Europe and Asia. Volkswagen is one of them, having joined the series with a race-spec version of the Golf GTI in 2016. Following the first full season, in which the Golf GTI TCR won 17 races and two championships, the German firm made improvements to the car in order to continue its good run.

The hatchback’s aerodynamics were updated, while the technology under the hood has also been fine-tuned. The updated car was again used by Liqui Moly Team Engstler, which tackled the German ADAC TCR, TCR Asia, and the TCR Middle East series. The revised GTI also returned to the International TCR series with Team Leopard Racing, which won the championship the previous year. Let’s find out what’s new in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.

What Makes the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Special

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Exterior
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While the fenders are massive and the tailgate supports a big wing, everything else is basically identical to the road-going GTI

The current GTI TCR isn’t radically different from the previous model, but it does have revised fenders and new vents in the front bumper. Both improve aerodynamic efficiency, helping the hatchback take turns quicker and deliver improved fuel economy.

The race car is still closely related to the road car. While the fenders are massive, the bumpers have large outlets, and the tailgate supports a big wing, everything else is basically identical to the road-going GTI. The hatchback even sports the traditional red stripe and badge on the front fascia, as well as the "GTI" lettering under the left-side taillight.

There aren’t any photos of the interior, but it’s pretty obvious that the car was fitted with a race-spec roll cage. It also has a motorsport-type steering wheel, a bucket seat for the driver, while the dashboard has been simplified for track duty.

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Exterior
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The engine is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the maximum displacement accepted by the TCR's governing body

The engine is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the maximum displacement accepted by the TCR’s governing body. The mill generates up to 350 horsepower and 310 pound-feet, as specified for this series. All cars must use a sequential transmission, a production-based suspension setup, and wet sump lubrication.

The Golf GTI TCR is available for purchase from €90,000 plus VAT from Volkswagen Motorsport. The German firm delivered more than 20 units in its first year in the series and around 30 examples in 2017. The number is expected to grow as more teams join the ever-growing TCR championship. The Golf GTI faced a massive number of TCR-spec cars, including the Hyundai i30, Peugeot 308, Seat Leon, Subaru WRX STI, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Opel Astra OPC.


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Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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Press Release

The curtain has been raised on the new Golf GTI TCR: the race version of the compact classic from Wolfsburg, which generates up to 350 hp, goes into 2017 with new aerodynamics. Following the first full season of racing, in which the Golf GTI TCR won 17 races and two championships, modifications have been made to the car’s outer skin, while the technology under the bonnet has also been fine-tuned. The Golf GTI TCR, which is available in race trim from € 90,000 plus VAT from Volkswagen Motorsport and is based on the road-going Golf GTI, is aimed at professional teams and drivers battling for race wins and championships at racetracks in rapidly growing TCR series around the world.

“The first full season of the Golf GTI TCR was a great success from a sporting point of view: our customers Leopard Racing and Liqui Moly Team Engstler won the international and Asian TCR championships at the first attempt,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “You cannot afford to rest on your laurels in motorsport, and we want to continue to offer our customers a competitive car for their commitments around the world. For this reason, we have systematically further developed the Golf GTI TCR for the 2017 season. The focus of this further development was on the car’s aerodynamics.”

At the heart of external modifications are the new fenders, with a new profile and new vents improving the aerodynamic efficiency of the five-door car. “With the new aerodynamics, we have further optimised the performance of the car on fast sections of track by reducing aerodynamic drag and increasing the overall downforce,” explained Eduard Weidl, TCR project leader at Volkswagen Motorsport. “Furthermore, we have also worked on many detailed solutions based on the experience gained from the car’s debut year: for example, we have optimised the power development of the two-litre turbo engine, improved the control of the sequential gearbox, and integrated a powerful electric power steering.”

Among the customers to take delivery of the new generation of Golf GTI TCR is Liqui Moly Team Engstler, which will once again field its cars in the German ADAC TCR Germany series (season-opener 28-30 April in Oschersleben/Germany), TCR Asia (season-opener 10-12 March in Sepang/Malaysia), and TCR Middle East (next race on 10 March in Bahrain) this year. Furthermore, Volkswagen customers will, for example, also compete in the international TCR series, in which Team Leopard Racing will start as the defending champion, as well as in the inaugural TCR Scandinavia, and the new TCR Italia series. In the car’s debut year, Volkswagen Motorsport delivered more than 20 Golf GTI TCRs to customers. Roughly 30 more cars are expected to be delivered in 2017.

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