Volkswagen R is Now Supporting Rallycross in Europe

European rallycross enthusiasts will be treated to a brand new Polo for team PSRX’s 2018 season. Best of all, though, now it isn’t just being sponsored by Volkswagen, it’s being sponsored by Volkswagen R.

The shift in marketing strategy points towards a new focus on performance models and VW’s press release suggests that the R line (not the R-Line) will expand.

“Volkswagen R,” writes VW in a press release, “home of Volkswagen’s most powerful and sporty production models, is partner of the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team in 2018 and is intensifying its cooperation with Volkswagen Motorsport.”

Until now, the world rallycross car has simply been called a Polo GTI World Rallycross car. That makes sense because the Polo GTI can be purchased in Europe. No Polo R currently exists, by contrast, despite the renaming.

Rumors of a Polo R have been around for a while, though, as have rumors of a Tiguan R (and a T-Roc R, to boot). The branding is particularly apt for rallycross because it implies all-wheel drive as well as horsepower, which the GTI brand does not.

The new race car has been redesigned to be more aerodynamic and to cool the engine better. Round the back, meanwhile, the Polo R has more downforce all in an effort to help drivers Johann Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg defend VW’s championship title.

“The initial tests with the new Polo R Supercar have been very good,” said Kristoffersson. “As world champion, I am obviously particularly under pressure – but I don’t mind that. On the contrary, I am looking forward to some spectacular and hopefully exciting battles with the opposition.”

The action kicks off on April 14/15 in Barcelona and the series will come to the US for the first time, with a race in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas.