The first time we saw the Volkswagen Beetle GRC Rallycross was at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. As an extreme interpretation of VW’s iconic model, the small racer is finally ready to compete in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship.
The Beetle GRC Rallycross replaces the VW Polo used by the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team and will be piloted by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
“The Polo has already proved super-competitive and we are really looking forward to racing a car that has been engineered specifically by Volkswagen Motorsport for GRC competition,” Speed said in a statement. “I know I can’t wait to race the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle. There’s no cooler looking car in the series,” Foust added.
Based on the third-generation Beetle, the Beetle GRC Rallycross weighs around 2,668 pounds (1,210 kg) and is powered by a by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder TSI turbocharged and intercooled engine making 544 horsepower. The ridiculously high power-to-weight ratio allows it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 2.1 seconds, quicker than virtually any supercar you can name. Stopping power is provided by 14.0-inch diameter front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes with four-piston aluminum calipers.
To cope with the off-road portion of a rallycross course, the racer is equipped with an all-around strut-type suspension with ZF dampers and about 9.1 inches (231mm) of travel, 17-inch wheels wrapped in 240/640-R17 Yokohama competition tires, and a fixed-ratio all-wheel-drive system featuring multiplate limited-slip differentials at the front and back.
Needless to say, the Volkswagen Beetle GRC Rallycross is a serious race car.
Volkswagen ID.R Sets New Nurburgring EV Record
The all-electric race car is now the second-fastest to lap the ring, behind the Porsche 919 LMP1.
Volkswagen’s ID.R race car has set a new lap record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife for electric cars. With driver Romain Dumas at the helm, it completed the 12.9-mile course in 6:05.336 minutes at an average speed of nearly 129 mph (208 km/h).
Originally developed for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the ID.R was later optimized to conquer the legendary Green Hell. The impressive lap time makes it second-fastest car on the Nürburgring, just 5 seconds behind Timo Bernhard’s 5:19.55 record set in 2018 in a Porsche 919 Evo LMP1 prototype race car.
“A great future for this car!” Dumas stated. “We will continue to push on it and we will see what we can achieve in the future.”
In related news, Volkswagen is building its first factory dedicated to electric cars.
Autonomous Racing Cars: A Revolutionary Idea In The World Of Racing
Autonomous cars could completely change the way we view racing.
With the advent of autonomous technology, human drivers are bound to be replaced by self-driving cars to such an extent that even racing cars will be driven by an AI. In fact, driverless cars are said to be the next big thing in the world of racing.
Developers are already laying the the ground work for Roborace, a competition for autonomously driving, electrically powered vehicles, and big-name companies like Ford, Tesla, and Mercedes are all integrating concepts of artificial intelligence to develop racing cars that would eliminate the need for human drivers.
Safety if often cited as one of the benefits of autonomous vehicles, and for good reason. Racing car drivers tend to make mistakes at high speeds, while the chances of accidents are much less with an autonomous AI in control.
The goal is to have sensors that are efficient enough to figure out when there is chance for the car to break down, perfectly adjusting for tyre wear, speed and trajectory, and fuel level to mitigate crashes and optimally time for any necessary pit stops.
Also, without a human driver behind the wheel, there is no need for an interior, allowing engineers and designers to make racing cars even lighter and more aerodynamic to achieve higher speeds.
As for power, autonomous race cars are more often than not all-electric, a setup that provides them with nearly instantaneous power delivery. And their hardware and software are integrated in such a way that they can endure a lot more jarring or beating than conventional race cars.
Advanced, highly-sophisticated GPS systems help them to navigate perfectly and guide the their routes, while radar and the LIDAR work together and in congruence to assess and manage road conditions.
Robocar is the world’s first race car purpose-built to be autonomous. Watch it in action…
Google has really gone the furthest when it comes to driverless vehicles, but General Motors has also made great headway. In its current form, GM’s Cruise technology is often touted as the best automated driving system from a major automaker, even beating Tesla’s Autopilot.
Self-adjusting speed controls, vehicle stability systems and self-parking are just a few of the features you can expect from self-driving cars. Emergency brake light warning system, slow traffic ahead, red light violation system, aggressive driver warning system, road hazard detection and emergency vehicle notification system can also be added to the list.
Then there is the question of how autonomous racing cars will look. According to the racing car enthusiasts at LeaseCar UK, we can expect something like the Nvidia-powered Robocar, with its sleek, extremely aerodynamic and flat design as a result of not having a steering wheel and seat for a human driver.
No human driver, instantaneous electric power, state-of-the-art computer AI and surveying technologies, and sleek designs — are you excited for what Roborace and autonomous racing cars in general will bring to the world of racing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Toyota HiLux Wins 2019 Dakar Rally
The win a first in a number of ways and couldn’t have come at a better time for the driver.
A Toyota HiLux came out on top in the 2019 Dakar Rally, marking the first time that Toyota has won the grueling desert race overall. Man and machine proved more than capable and reliable enough to win every one of the 10 stages in the South American rally.
Fielded by Toyota Gazoo Racing of South Africa, the rally-modified pickup truck was also the first gasoline-powered vehicle ever to win a Dakar Rally since the competition was moved to South America from Africa in 2009 for safety reasons. It was manned by driver Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and his navigator Mathieu Baumel from France.
As it turned out, Al-Attiyah turned 43 years old on January 17, the day his team won the rally. He now has three Dakar titles under his belt.
“We are so happy to win the Dakar, not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team,” Al Attiyah said in a statement. “Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this.”
In the same race, a Toyota Land Cruiser won the Production Division category for the sixth consecutive year, and a Hino Ranger (Hino is Toyota’s heavy duty truck subsidiary) won its tenth consecutive year in the Truck category.
The HiLux has been Toyota’s main pickup truck globally for decades and shares little with the Tacoma sold in North America.