Herbie's movie exploits aside, Volkswagen's Beetle has never achieved much success as a race car. But that situation may be about to change.
At the end of June, Volkswagen of America and Andretti Autosport unveiled the race-ready Beetle GRC, designed to compete in the Global Rallycross Championship. This weekend, the 544 hp four-wheel drive rocket makes its racing debut in races seven and eight of the season in Los Angeles.
Celebrated American driver, Tanner Foust (USA) will be behind the wheel of the “Über Beetle” for its inaugural run.
Rallycross is a unique form of motorsport that combines elements of rallying, off-roading and American short-track racing, typically including such features as jumps and multiple short heat races.
“We're really excited and even a little nervous that the Beetle is making its Rallycross debut in Los Angeles,” said Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito. “The remaining events in the Global Rallycross series this year are extremely valuable for gaining as much experience in this brand new car as possible and to prepare it perfectly for the 2015 season.”
Based on the third-generation Beetle, the GRC has a 544-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder in-line engine, a sequential six-speed gearbox, multiple-disc limited slip differentials on the front and rear axles, McPherson strut suspensions and dampers from ZF.
It is said to accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in about 2.2 seconds and have a top speed of 200 km/h.
Visually, it features a huge rear wing, wide mudguards, a flat roof edge and front section that give it an aggressively racyy look, while maintaining the unmistakable lines of the production Beetle.