Volkswagen Motorsport recently announced that it would be distancing itself from any factory-backed motorsport commitments using internal combustion engines (ICEs). Instead, it plans to focus its motorsport strategy on electric mobility. The move cast some doubt on the future of the company’s motorsport programme in India, where all of its racers currently rely on ICEs.
However, in what comes as welcome news to the motorsport community in India, Volkswagen Motorsport India has now confirmed that its racing programme in the country will continue unaffected for next year. Just this year, the company expanded its presence in Indian motorsport by entering the Indian Touring Championship (ITC) category of the 2019 MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Car Racing Championship. It fielded three race-spec Vento cars in the series and capped off an impressive debut season with driver Dhruv Shivaji Mohite winning the title.
Volkswagen’s one-make Ameo Cup championship was conferred with National Championship status by the Federation of Motorsport Clubs of India (FMSCI) earlier this year as well. As a result, the series ran as the ‘Ameo Class’ as part of the 2019 MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Car Racing Championship. The series’ new National Champion status means the results now carry more weight than ever before, with winners of the Pro and Junior categories officially recognised as National Champions. In addition to fielding an R2-spec Polo for its factory team in the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), Volkswagen also runs a customer sport initiative wherein it provides its rally-spec Polo built to the INRC’s various class regulations.
It’s a move that makes sense in a country like India, where electric mobility is still in its nascency. However, on the international front, the company has reiterated its focus on electric racing, with the ID R becoming the company’s new motorsport poster child. The electric race car has already set new records at Pikes Peak, the Nürburgring and the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Additionally, the company has also confirmed that it will be developing new motorsport concepts for the ID family, based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), on which a number of future electric production vehicles will be based.
This move also means that Volkswagen has decided to pull the plug on its Golf GTI TCR at the end of this year, and a successor based on the new generation will not be offered. The Polo GTI R5 rally car will continue to be produced for privateer customer teams, but any factory-backed efforts running the car will be axed.