The anticipation is half the fun: shortly before the start of the 2018 rally season, Volkswagen has now provided the first 15 customers with information on the delivery of their new Polo GTI R5. Development of the four-wheel drive rally car, which is based on the new sixth generation Polo, began at the start of last year, and the new car was presented to the public for the first time in December. Demand for the new rally Polo is great – not least because the Polo GTI R5 incorporates all the know-how of its predecessor, which won four world titles in the pinnacle of rallying, the WRC.
“We are overwhelmed by the positive feedback on the Polo GTI R5,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “The customer demand is enormous. We are obviously pleased about this, and it is an additional motivation to provide the teams with the best possible rally car.”
No distance is too great: Roughly 11,000 kilometres as the crow flies to reach the customer
15 of the 272-hp Polo GTI R5 are set to be delivered to the first customers in the second half of this year. Three cars will be sent to Austria and the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing GmbH team run by Austria rally champion Raimund Baumschlager, who won the 2017 Austrian Rally Championship with a Polo R WRC. Three cars have also been sold to teams from Belgium: two to BMA and one Polo GTI R5 to THX Racing.
Two Polo GTI R5s will be on their way to the Printsport Oy team in the home of rallying, Finland. Printsport has succesfully implemented projects with young and talented drivers like Esapekka Lappi, Ole Christian Veiby and Jari Huttunen. They currently have Lukasz Pieniazek from Poland and Emil Lindholm, son of multiple Finnish champion Sebastian Lindholm, in their team. A further two Polo GTI R5s will be run by the HK Racing team in Italy. One rally GTI will also be sent to Portugal. And a GTI R5 has also been sold to Sweden and Kristoffersson Motorsport.
The longest journey – almost 11,000 kilometres as the crow flies – will be undertaken by three Polo GTI R5s, as they are shipped to the South American country of Paraguay. Miguel Carrizosa/DIESA S.A., a Volkswagen importer in Paraguay, will run the cars at national events there.
“We assemble each car by hand in our workshop in Hannover,” said Juliane Gründl, head of sales and distribution at Volkswagen Motorsport. “We are on schedule. However, we are still in the process of structuring production, and in the implementation phase in the aftersales area. We obviously want to be ideally positioned in time for the sales launch.”
As in the GTI for the streets: Four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection
Like the production model – the new Polo GTI** – the Polo GTI R5 has a powerful straight four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection, which is mounted transversely in front of the front axle. The capacity of the rally car is limited to 1.6 litres, in accordance with regulations. This is sufficient to generate an impressive 200 kW (272 hp) and maximum torque of 400 Newton metres. A close-stepped, sequential, five-speed racing gearbox and permanent four-wheel drive achieve outstanding acceleration on any surface – whether asphalt, gravel or snow. Weighing just 1,230 kilograms, the rally GTI accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
|Design||Straight-four engine with turbocharger and intercooling, transversally mounted in front of the front axle|
|Performance||200 kW (272 hp) at 5,500 rpm|
|Torque||400 Nm at 4,000 rpm|
|Bore/stroke||82.5 mm/75.5 mm|
|Restrictor plate||32 mm|
|Gearbox||Sequential, five-speed racing gearbox, transversally mounted|
|Axle drive||Permanent four-wheel drive with equal torque split between the front and rear axles, multi-plate limited-slip differentials, front and rear|
|Clutch||Hydraulically actuated double-disk sintered metal clutch|
|Front/rear axle||McPherson struts, dampers from ZF|
|Suspension travel||approx. 180 mm on asphalt, approx. 275 mm on gravel|
|Steering||Servo-assisted rack and pinion steering|
|Braking system||Internally-ventilated disc brakes (front Ø 350 mm on asphalt, Ø 300 mm front and rear on gravel), aluminium brake callipers (four callipers, front and rear)|
|Rims||8 x 18 inch for asphalt, 7 x 15 inch for gravel|
|Tyres||Asphalt: 20/65-18 (235/40-R18), gravel: 17/65-15 (215/60-R15)|
|Structure||FIA-approved, reinforced steel body from production vehicle|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Minimum weight||1,230 kg (without driver/co-driver)|
|Acceleration||0–100 km/h in approx. 3.9 seconds|
|Top speed||Up to approx. 200 km/h (depending on transmission ratio)|
The four-door, steel chassis, which serves as the basis for the assembly, is manufactured at the production plant in Pamplona, Spain. In accordance with FIA regulations, it is strengthened with a role cage and other safety components. The Polo GTI R5 will be homologated in the summer of 2018. The first deliveries to customer sports teams, and the first competitive outings, are planned for the second half of the year.
In 2012, the International Automobile Federation FIA passed the R5 regulations for a new generation of rally cars, aimed primarily at customer teams, talented youngsters and privateers. Since then, more than 400 cars have been produced by five different manufacturers and have been in action in national and international championships all over the world.