The Volkswagen brand has announced that it too is to ‘realign its motorsport programme’, in the wake of the damning ‘Dieselgate’ scandal that rocked the company.
Volkswagen has announced that as a result of its US$14.7bn fine it will, from 2017, ‘focus on new technologies and customer sport’. The significiant outcome of this is that its commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship is to end with immediate effect at the end of the 2016 season.
“The Volkswagen brand is facing enormous challenges. With the upcoming expansion in electrification of our vehicle range we must focus all our efforts on important future technologies. We far exceeded our sporting goals in the WRC, now we are realigning Volkswagen Motorsport and moving the vehicle technology of the future more starkly into focus,” said Frank Welsch, member of the board of management responsible for technical development, to about 200 motorsport employees in Hannover. “At the same time, Volkswagen is going to focus more on customer racing.”
Volkswagen identifies the TCR International series, America’s Global Rallycross series as two areas it will build on during the 2017 season, whilst the brand will also begin development of a new R5-specification Polo for launch in 2018.
“I want to give our heartfelt thanks to our drivers and co-drivers for their outstanding achievements,” Welsch continued. “They are not only unbelievably quick, but also extremely effective ambassadors for the Volkswagen brand. The whole team built around Motorsport Director Sven Smeets has created the basis for this success with the enormous commitment of each individual. We want to continue working with this excellent team and bring about the realignment. In the same way, we will expand the close cooperation between production development and motorsport, which has always shown benefits to both sides in recent years. There is a guarantee of employment for the Volkswagen Motorsport employees.”