Volkswagen's go-fast Motorsport division will stop developing piston-powered race cars to stay in line with its parent company's shift towards electric powertrains. That means gasoline-burning models like the Golf GTI TCR (pictured) will be phased out to make space for new, battery-powered racers.
The GTI TCR will retire at the end of 2019, which is hardly a surprise considering the seventh-generation Golf it's based on is retiring, and its replacement has already been unveiled. Volkswagen Motorsport explained it won't transform the eighth-generation Golf into a new TCR, however. It will continue to manufacture parts for the outgoing model in the foreseeable future, so enthusiasts won't need to invest in a fleet of parts cars to continue racing in the coming years.
Motorsport will also end its involvement in factory-backed, gasoline-burning racing as part of its commitment to electric powertrains, but it will keep building the Polo GTI R5 for customer teams in its Hanover, Germany, facility. Spare parts will remain readily available, too.
Frank Welsch, Volkswagen's board member for technical development, pointed out the record-breaking ID.R will carry on as Motorsport's flagship model. While it's not expected to spawn a production car anytime soon, the lessons the company is learning in the fields of battery management could be applied to a showroom-bound car sooner or later. Looking beyond the ID.R, Welsch announced his team is in the process of developing a second brand pillar that will bridge the gap between production cars (like the ID.3) and race cars. Details about the model haven't been released, but we know Volkswagen isn't opposed to the idea of making a hot-rodded EV.
It will be interesting to watch how Volkswagen takes the MEB platform racing. The architecture is flexible enough to underpin anything from a Golf-sized hatchback to an Atlas-like SUV, plus a variety of other body styles in between, so the firm has plenty of options to choose from. And, the decision to stop generating horsepower by burning gasoline won't effect Volkswagen's street cars. The eighth-generation Golf will again spawn GTI- and R-badged hot hatches.