After hitting the sand with its Beetle Dune concept, Volkswagen is taking its iconic automobile to the rallycross circuit. Announced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, the Global Rallycross (GRC) Beetle, however, is more than a concept, with the car set to compete in the 2014 Global Rallycross Championship season.
The all-wheel-drive GRC Beetle is built around the third-generation Beetle that entered production in 2011 and was an attempt to give the vehicle a more aggressive look than the New Beetle that preceded it.
The car is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct injection TSI engine putting out more than 560 hp (417 kW) and will be driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed as part of the newly-formed Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, which results from a partnership between VW and Andretti Motorsport.
For the uninitiated, rallycross races are conducted on closed tracks measuring between half a mile (0.8 km) and a mile (1.6 km) long that feature a mix of dirt and tarmac, as well as obstacles and jumps. Cars are pitted against the clock and each other in a series of heats, with points awarded to the top 16 finishers. The driver with the most points at the end of the season takes home the GRC championship.
Because the GRC Beetle is still being worked on, Foust and Speed will begin the 2014 GRC in modified Polo rally cars before switching to the Beetle. With the 2014 GRC kicking off in May, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team is hoping to have the car ready for action by June.