Earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show, Volkswagen showed us its latest foray into motorsports, the Beetle GRC global rallycross machine. Now, the Beetle is officially making its public debut, and while it looks a little different, it's still packing one heck of a punch.

Now, when the original racecar debuted in Chicago, Volkswagen told us it would make more than 560 horsepower. But the official specs reveal otherwise: the 1.6-liter turbo-four is actually rated at 544 hp. That's still crazy, of course, especially considering the car's sub-3,000-pound weight. Volkswagen estimates that with the help of all-wheel drive, this racer will hit 60 miles per hour in just 2.1 seconds. Hot.

The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross entrant will be driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, which is already underway. Thus far, Foust and Speed have been running in VW Polo racecars, but the Beetle will make its debut at the Volkswagen Rallycross D.C. event this weekend. Scroll down for the official press blast.
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DEFINITIVE BEETLE GRC RACECAR TO DEBUT AT VOLKSWAGEN RALLYCROSS D.C. EVENT

With 544 horsepower, the Beetle GRC promises to be an even more competitive proposition than the Polos driven by Scott Speed and Tanner Foust


Herndon, VA - The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team today unveiled the definitive Beetle GRC rallycross car. The Beetle will run later this season in the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.

The team enters the third round of the season, Volkswagen Rallycross D.C., with two victories for Scott Speed driving the No. 7 7UP Volkswagen Polo. Both he and Foust are stoked by the prospect of the Beetle, which features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder TSI® turbocharged and intercooled engine making 544 horsepower. "The Polo has already proved super-competitive," said Speed, "and we are really looking forward to racing a car that has been engineered specifically by Volkswagen Motorsport for GRC competition." Foust added: "I know I can't wait to race the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle. There's no cooler looking car in the series."

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport director, said: "After Volkswagen of America's impressive start on the rallycross scene with the Polo, the launch of the new Beetle GRC rallycross car represents the next major milestone. The Beetle boasts a unique appearance and state-of-the-art technology. It will sweep fans off their feet."

This rallycross car is the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle. Designed and engineered from the outset as a GRC car, it features a sequential six-speed transmission, with a fixed-ratio all-wheel-drive system that features multiplate limited-slip differentials at the front and rear.

The car uses an all-around strut-type suspension, with ZF dampers and about 9.1 inches of travel to cope with the rigors of the off-road portion of a rallycross course. The car has 14.0-inch diameter front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes, with four-piston aluminum calipers. The 17-inch wheels are shod with 240/640-R17 Yokohama competition tires.

The Beetle cuts quite a dash with its outsize rear wing, widebody fenders, and aggressive front fascia. Overall, the car is 168.8 inches long and 71.7 inches wide, and has to weigh in at a minimum of 2668 pounds, per series regulations. With this combination of low weight, high horsepower, and all-wheel-drive traction, the Beetle GRC is predicted to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in an incredibly quick 2.1 seconds.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, and Touareg vehicles through approximately 640 independent U.S. dealers.

About Andretti Autosport

Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series. Andretti Autosport also campaigns multiple cars in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda championships. In 2013 the team announced intent to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross starting in 2014. The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013), one USF2000 championship (2010) and has won the Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007). For more information, please visit AndrettiAutosport.com.

Notes:

This press release and images of the GRC Beetle are available at media.vw.com. Follow us @VWNews

"TSI", "VW", "Volkswagen", all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      EJD1984
      • 6 Months Ago
      Is the engine still in the front? With the side air-scoops, and rear vented panel, looks like VW may have put the engine in the rear (where it belongs in a Beetle). *I'm not all that well versed on rallycross cars - so please be kind if I'm missing something obvious.
        BipDBo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @EJD1984
        This is a rear engine car. The only thing in front is the steering rack, the radiator and possibly the intercooler. But the intercooler might be in the back. They surely displaced some of the space where the rear seats were for the engine. This rear (or mid) engine layout with AWD is a very common layout for these high end rally "conversions". It's the same as the legendary Ford RS200. The Ford Shogun was also a FWD car with the engine moved to the back, but I think that may have been just RWD.
        inclinelongboards
        • 6 Months Ago
        @EJD1984
        I think they just put the intercooler back there to avoid damage that can be caused with it up front. I've been wrong before though...
      fordskydog
      • 6 Months Ago
      Awww! Isn't it cute! Like a super angry little Yorkie!
      jjmoonen
      • 6 Months Ago
      Yeah, I don't care what anyone says. It just is not possible to make one of those things look cool.
        11fiveoh
        • 6 Months Ago
        @jjmoonen
        http://www.dipyourcar.com/forums/showthread.php?15350-May-Wesley-s-Custom-Teal-Dipped-Beetle
        BipDBo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @jjmoonen
        How about this? http://ronpatrickstuff.com/ If you don't think that a big jet engine sticking out of the back of an otherwise stock looking VW looks cool, then something is wrong with you.
      Jo$e
      • 6 Months Ago
      Wow, Herbie really hit the gym.
      Olicf
      • 6 Months Ago
      2.1 seconds... really? That would be quicker than a V8 Atom??
        Andrew Quillin
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Olicf
        @Olicf / @cattellford You are really comparing production cars to purpose built racecars? All of the GRC cars do 0-60 in the low 2's and even less (Fiesta did it in 1.9 secs)! They have AWD, anti-lag, racing radials, and massive boost.
          Olicf
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Andrew Quillin
          Very good point! Cheers for clearing that up
      • 6 Months Ago
      I would pay some good money to have a this.
      Jay
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is a joke right?
      Adam
      • 6 Months Ago
      Herbie does 0-60 in 2.1 seconds... nothing but respect
      johnbravo6
      • 6 Months Ago
      VW builds a fast racecar... Cool?
      M5_4_life
      • 6 Months Ago
      Definitely not my mama's Bug, we could here that thing a mile away before she got to the school to pick us up in the '80s. Couldn't even steal it for a joyride, the noise alone was theft deterring.
      mbukukanyau
      • 6 Months Ago
      I wonder if they are stuffing the motor in the back
        BipDBo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        Yes, that's exactly what they did.
          edward.stallings
          • 6 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          Where did you get that information? I think you are wrong because in reading many articles on it, it has not been mentioned. 4wd rally cars are typically front engined. There is not much to gain with going mid if you have 4wd, and I suspect that the rules would not allow changing engine location. Fox news has a film of it and catching a glimpse of the rear interior does not suggest a mid-engined arrangement. Car and Driver, Left Lane, Top Gear, Road & Track - non mention engine placement.
          mbukukanyau
          • 6 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          the proper way to build a Beetle
      lionel
      • 6 Months Ago
      That is over 5.5 horsepower per cubic inch. Would love to have more details.
        mbukukanyau
        • 6 Months Ago
        @lionel
        Its probably a racing engine build for short life by a racing outfit under contract from VW
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