• Apr 19th 2009 at 2:07PM
  • 18

Volkswagen Scirocco GT24-CNG - Click above for a hi-res gallery

Phase 1: Dominate your class in endurance racing. Phase 2: Continue to dominate your class in endurance racing, only this time do it without gasoline. That seems to be the game plan with the Volkswagen Group's racing programs, so after winning at Le Mans five times with the gasoline-powered Audi R8 racer (punctuated only by the victory of sister-company Bentley's Ingolstadt-supported Speed 8), Audi continued its dominance with the diesel-powered R10 TDI. (It's worth noting that SEAT managed to clinch the 2008 World Touring Car Championship with a diesel-burning Leon TDI, too.) Meanwhile, over at the Nürburgring, Volkswagen itself took a devastating one-two class victory at last year's 24-hour race with the Scirocco GT24. So what's the next step? Compressed Natural Gas. That's what Volkswagen will be pumping into its latest race-prepped Scirocco as the team attempts to prove once again that it can win - even dominate - while burning alternative fuels.

The new Scirocco GT24-CNG uses the same basic architecture as the last year's car, but with the aid of Compressed Natural Gas, delivers 300 horsepower while returning a 25% improvement in emissions. VW will be campaigning a pair of them at the race in late May in the 2-liter turbocharged category, where they'll be facing off against the new Subaru Impreza STI, among others. Will Wolfsburg be able to follow up on last year's victory using alternative fuels? Only time will tell, but the team will also be campaigning three additional gasoline-powered Sciroccos...you know, just in case. Details in the press release after the jump and photos in the gallery below.

[Source: Volkswagen]



At the 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring on 23/24 May, Volkswagen will field two Scirocco cars with innovative natural gas engines. Following the historic one-two victory at the Dakar Rally in January, which Volkswagen won as the first automobile manufacturer using diesel technology in the event, the Wolfsburg brand is now taking on another technical challenge - the use of EcoFuel engines in the endurance test twice around the clock on the world's most demanding race track.

The two Scirocco GT24-CNG 2.0-litre turbo engines powered by natural gas deliver nearly 300 hp. In addition, the "factory" team will field three further Scirocco GT24 cars powered by 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines in the classic endurance race at the "Green Hell" in the Eifel region in Western Germany.

Last year, Volkswagen clinched a one-two victory in the 2.0-litre turbo class even before the Scirocco's market launch.

"The 24-Hour Race offers Volkswagen an exciting stage to demonstrate its technical capabilities and expertise," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "The Scirocco GT24 already proved its strengths as a dynamic sports coupe by clinching class victory in its debut race last year. In 2009, we are taking yet another step forwards by using two different engine concepts. We want to prove that Volkswagen offers different powertrain concepts, all of which excel in terms of high efficiency, dynamics and reliability. The Nordschleife and the 24-Hour Race provide an ideal test bed for this purpose."

Engine technology: innovative and proven systems for the circuit marathon

For this acid test on the challenging Nordschleife, Volkswagen developed a CNG (compressed natural gas) version based on the 2.0-litre petrol engine that was victorious last year. The engineers primarily focused on the fuel induction system of the unit equipped with a turbocharger as well as on the balance between maximum exhaust gas temperature and full usage of the turbocharger's potential in order to optimise both driveability and power output. The result: just under 300 hp and 350 Nm of torque which continue to be transmitted to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG gearbox operated by paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Natural gas as an efficient and clean source of power

The new generation of natural gas turbo engines takes full advantage of the high anti-knock quality of approx. 130 octane offered by natural gas fuel. This enables natural gas vehicles to achieve a level of driving dynamics unrivalled by any other alternative powertrain system. Furthermore, natural gas as a fuel is particularly eco-friendly as well as very cost-effective.

On average, natural gas vehicles reduce CO2 emissions by 25 per cent compared with conventional spark ignition engines. The combustion process generates almost no particulate matter or fine dust.

"Dakar" aces, "Nürburgring" experts and multi-talents: the drivers of the Scirocco GT24

In addition to these technological innovations, Volkswagen tackles the challenge of the "Green Hell" with interesting driver combinations. The two natural gas-powered Scirocco GT24-CNG cars will be driven by Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg (D), Board Member for Technical Development of the Volkswagen Brand, and journalists Bernd Ostmann (D), Peter Wyss (CH) and John Barker (GB) as well as touring car ace Peter Terting (D), Nordschleife expert Thomas Klenke (D), former DTM driver Vanina Ickx (B) and touring car legend Klaus Niedzwiedz (D), two-time overall winner of the 24 Hours on the Nürburgring.

The squad of one of the three petrol-powered Scirocco GT24 cars reflects the exploit achieved at the Dakar Rally: "Dakar" winner Giniel de Villiers (ZA), two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz (E) as well as Dieter Depping (D) will take turns at the wheel during their excursion from rally to circuit racing.

A true juniors' foursome is formed by last year's winners Jimmy Johansson (S) and Florian Gruber (D) as well as Nicki Thiim (DK) and Martin Karlhofer (A). In addition, the formula racing specialists Congfu Cheng (CN), Carlo van Dam (NL) and Franck Mailleux (F) as well as the two-time 24-H overall winner Altfrid Heger (D) will share another one of the cockpits of the 330 PS Scirocco GT24 cars.

A model of success returns: the Scirocco GT24 on the Nordschleife

The 2009 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring will mark the return of the Scirocco GT24 to the scene of its success. Last year, the Scirocco experienced its competition debut even before its production counterpart started selling on the market. Jimmy Johansson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Thomas Mutsch (D) and Hans-Joachim Stuck (D) secured class victory in the ultra-competitive 2.0-litre turbo class (SP3T) in front of an audience of some 200,000 spectators. The one-two victory in the field of 219 touring cars that had started from the grid was completed by Carlos Sainz (E), Giniel de Villiers (ZA), Dieter Depping (D) and Hans-Joachim Stuck (D).

Tests and races to prepare for the 24-hour Nürburgring

In addition to tests, Volkswagen's preparation for the 24-hour Nürburgring includes three races in the BFGoodrich Endurance Championship Nürburgring. The Scirocco GT24-CNG will make its debut on 18 April at the Four-Hour Race on the "ring".

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      More waste of corporate money.. well a few layoffs will take care of that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Khanh: Yup. That's how audi worked out FSI before putting it into production cars. Hell, Seat Belts, Headlights, Windshields, all from LeMans... if NFLFilms are to be believed :D
        • 6 Years Ago
        lol, might want to become reasonably aware of the state of the auto industry. VAG is fine, and will be able to hold out the longest. The only high profile german automaker layoffs have been at the hands of BMW's board, some 5,000 jobs not long ago (and now pay cuts for all). VAG, on the other hand, continues to make more in China, Europe, etc, which is why Audi employees found a 5,000e bonus while bmw cut that amount in jobs. It'd be a little more prudent to criticize bmw's involvement in sports in which they're incapable of dominating, like say F1, than VAGs involvement in anything, especially when their brands continue to win, and their sales continue to improve, showing an opposite sort of correlation than we see in automakers like BMW.

        I'm glad to see some automakers, running their companies like businesses, actually have profitable enough enterprises to engage in motorsports, as that goes a great way in continuing to keep their enthusiast organic growth market happy (especially in their domestic market).
      • 6 Years Ago
      it just sucks that scirocco wouldn't be offered in U.S.

      dang... suck so bad!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why not sell Golf in USA that looks more like Scirroco?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fell the same way,

        I think if they DID offer it. It would out sell the Genesis coupe.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Bite off VW! Thanks for nothing!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why must they taunt us Americans?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Useless unless there is global infrastructure for it. The problem isn't what powers the car it is access to that power. Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You are looking at this too much from an American standpoint. A relatively large percentage of gas stations in Germany also supply CNG. Unlike the US, Germany and Europe are developing the infrastructure for alternative fuels.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Which is why I said global infrastructure. Having a percentage in Germany isn't going to cut it. The infrastructure has to be widely available in the largest markets like China, and the US, as well as much greater presence in Europe and developing markets.

        The political motivations in a lot of countries is to get off of oil. That won't happen until there is a replacement as much or more than what currently exists. None of this will happen until a dominate energy source (besides oil) is decided on either through government mandate or preferably the market. Car manufactures can't be expected to build cars that run on gas, diesel, natural gas, electricity, ethanol, algae, air, or unicorn blood and remain profitable. Decisions have to be made. Is there a current power source and infrastructure that meets or exceeds what is currently in place? Gas and diesel are the overwhelmingly dominate choices because of their well established success, ease of use, price, and infrastructure. A car running on natural gas sounds great as the above article shows but it isn't going to change the industry without a whole lot of investment by others (government, public) outside of the industry. I don't see that happening anytime soon simply because it hasn't been decided which alternative energy source(s) is going to replace the dominate source we have now. Perhaps Europe will lead the way in natural gas powered cars and the rest of the world will sit up and take notice. I'm note holding my breath though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ info, im not sure he's looking at it from an american standpoint. I think he's looking at it from his own standpoint.

        I can walk down to my local honda dealer, order a CNG civic with home refueling kit, and driving my own CNG powered vehicle to work every day in a week or so. It's readily available now and has been for some time. Of course this won't work for long road trips, but that's .01% of my personal driving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        dwaltr- I'm originally from India and CNG is pretty big there. I personally believe that the future is Hydrogen but only by studying and testing all types of tech will the best one be chosen to replace the current fuels.
        • 6 Years Ago
        thanks for that link, i'll continue to research this issue. i'd guess honda's position is they weren't making enough money. Of the two big japanese automakers, Honda would, of course, be the first to go, so I could see them circling the wagons if things got tough. This news, however, does cause me to completely reevaluate my position. Thank you for posting it!
        • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      If this beats the STI my friend will never hear the end of it...
        • 6 Years Ago
        last year already started a Subaru Impreza STI, Mitsubishi Evo VIII, RX-7 in the SP3T (up to 2liter turbo) class and all lost vs the Scirocco and the year befor vs the GTI. Last year the Impreza was two laps behind the class wining Scirocco...
        Very important factors at the 24h of the Ring is a easy to drive car, excellent drivers and a good balance between speed consuption and tire use...

        The SP3T class Scirocco even beat Impreza STI running in the SP6 class with much more power...

        This was the SP6 class 2008 Subaru WRX STI finishing 5. place in its class of 12 cars finishing the race...

        • 6 Years Ago
        If I'm not mistaken, last year, the Scirocco beat a fair amount of Porsche 911's, an other cars with far more horsepower, coming in 11th and 15th in a field of 200+ cars.

        Its an endurance race so that even if that STi happens to be faster in one single lap, all the other variables might make that advantage pretty much irrelevant. FWD vs. AWD too...
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