The latest car to join the increasingly popular R5 discipline is Volkswagen’s recently announced sixth-generation Polo.
Keen to highlight the links between the new competition car and the WRC program that won the manufacturer four world titles. The 270hp rally version of the Polo is set to be made available to professional teams and privateers to enable them to compete in championships across the globe. The development of the Polo GTI R5 has been in full swing since the start of 2017, with initial test drives planned for later this year. Volkswagen Motorsport technical director François-Xavier Demaison, responsible for the Polo R WRC, is responsible for the development of the Polo GTI R5. Whilst Sébastien Ogier’s former race engineer Gerard-Jan de Jongh is the R5’s senior project engineer.
“With the Polo GTI R5 we are hoping to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to customer racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the Polo GTI R5 to rigorous testing to make sure it is prepared for the extremely varied track conditions around the world.”
The Polo GTI R5 retains the production model’s EA888 four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection, which is paired to a four-wheel drive system and a sequential five-speed transmission.
Volkswagen Motorsport states that the Polo GTI R5 represents ‘another important milestone in its strategic realignment’. Following the retirement from the WRC’s top-flight and the successful introduction of the Golf GTI TCR, which has achieved success across various championships, Volkswagen Motorsport is expanding its involvement in customer racing to rallying.