Volkswagen Motorsport plans to start testing its new Polo R5 rally car in September.
Announcing its withdrawal from the FIA World Rally Championship last season after four years of dominating the drivers’ and manufacturers’ series, the German company signalled a switch to customer activities.
Building a car eligible for the WRC 2 support category was at the forefront of its aims and motorsport director Sven Smeets confirmed that development of the vehicle, based on the new generation Polo road car, is under way.
It will be powered by an upgraded version of the 1.6-litre turbo engine currently used in the all-conquering Škoda Fabia R5. The Czech manufacturer, part of the Volkswagen family, is dominating WRC 2, winning 13 of the last 14 rounds.
No date has been confirmed as to when the Polo R5 will be ready for competition, but Volkswagen stated last year that customers would be able to buy the car in 2018.
Smeets also said plans for customers to use the 2016 Polo R World Rally Car, in which Sébastien Ogier claimed his fourth consecutive title last year, were still on the table.
“There is customer interest in running the tried-and-tested Polo R WRC at various rallies. Our to-do list is very full,” he said.