The new second-generation Polo R WRC was just revealed at Autostadt in Wolfsburg. The rally machine has been substantially reworked for 2015, with a new livery, new bodywork and new oily bits. In fact, Volkswagen says it has revised three quarters of the components, and while it has not yet detailed the "many new ideas [implemented] under the bonnet," it has identified the hydraulic gearbox as "the biggest innovation."
Further details are still to come, but this is our first look at the new machine with which Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen – who finished last year's championship in first, second and third, respectively – will tackle this year's championship, starting with the Rally Monte Carlo on January 22-25.
New technology, new design: presenting the second generation Polo R WRC
- World premiere of the 318-hp Polo R WRC in Wolfsburg
- Member of the Board, Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, launches title defence
- WRC kicks off with the iconic Rally Monte Carlo from 22–25 January
Wolfsburg (15 January 2015). In top form, both technically and visually: Volkswagen presented the second generation of the Polo R WRC in Autostadt, Wolfsburg. The works team from Wolfsburg has its sights set firmly on another successful defence of its titles in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a new car and a new look. Volkswagen completed a clean sweep of all the World Championship titles when the Polo R WRC made its debut in 2013, before repeating this impressive feat last season. Continuity is the key to the driving line-up for 2015: double world champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) will roll down the starting ramp and head onto the first special stage of the year for Volkswagen at the legendary Rally Monte Carlo on 22 January.
"The new Polo R WRC has undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside," said Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development. "Not only does it look even more dynamic and sporty than it did before, but our engineers have also been working meticulously on technical innovations under the bonnet and have improved many detailed aspects of the package that has been so successful for the past two years. The focus of this further development was on efficiency, reliability and performance. We can hardly wait to see the new Polo R WRC in Monte Carlo and at the other twelve rallies on four continents."
Title defence in blue, blue and white: new design for the next generation of Polo R WRC
The most striking change to the Polo R WRC for the 2015 season is its exterior. The white has given way to dark-blue. White and light-blue stripes see the dark-blue front merge into the white rear, which features a towering new rear wing. Also integrated in the new design are Volkswagen's other partners in the World Rally Championship: Red Bull, lubricant partner Castrol, Volkswagen Financial Services, tyre partner Michelin, chassis and clutch specialist ZF Sachs, and supplier OMP.
The Volkswagen engineers have been hard at work implementing many new ideas under the bonnet. The hydraulically activated gearbox, which is operated via a shift paddle on the steering column, represents the biggest innovation. Furthermore, three quarters of last year's components were checked and many of them optimised, with the aim of making everything "simpler, lighter, and stronger".
Quotes ahead of the WRC season
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
"I am very optimistic that the new car will get off to just as good a start as its predecessor. We have done a lot of testing and we drivers have worked very closely with the engineers. We put a lot of effort into developing the new shift paddle, which represents real progress. We are looking forward to the new season. It will be exciting to see how we fare against the other teams. The tests have gone well so far, and our engineers have done a good job. The Polo R WRC is even better than it was before."
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
"The new car feels really good, and we are ready for the new season – at last. We will be using the shift paddle on the steering wheel to change gear this year, and I really like it. On the whole, the new Polo is faster and even better than the 2014 car. I am not the only one to feel that way – Sébastien and Andreas agree with me. There is no question about it, we are looking forward to the 2015 season."
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
"First and foremost: the new design is really cool. I really like the new colours and new design, and am even a little bit prouder to be driving the Polo R WRC. I will still be driving the 2014 Polo at the start of the season, and will not switch to the 'new' car until the Rally Portugal. However, that is no problem. After all, our world championship winning car has more than proven itself, and is certainly anything but slow."
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
"A launch like ours today is always a welcome sign that the start of the season is upon us. The whole team has worked long and hard to ensure that we are ready for the Rally Monte Carlo. Today has given us the final boost emotionally. It is fantastic that the Volkswagen Board and employees support us so enthusiastically. Motorsport receives huge interest and backing at Volkswagen. It is now important to repay this support over the course of the new season."
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), 2015 season
22/01–25/01/2015 Rally Monte Carlo
12/02–15/02/2015 Rally Sweden
05/03–08/03/2015 Rally Mexico
23/04–26/04/2015 Rally Argentina
21/05–24/05/2015 Rally Portugal
11/06–14/06/2015 Rally Italy
02/07–05/07/2015 Rally Poland
30/07–02/08/2015 Rally Finland
20/08–23/08/2015 Rally Germany
10/09–13/09/2015 Rally Australia
01/10–04/10/2015 Rally France
22/10–25/10/2015 Rally Spain
12/11–15/11/2015 Rally Great Britain