VW Pulls out of Formula 3, Focusing on Production-Based Race Cars

Volkswagen Motorsports will end its involvement in popular feeder series Formula 3 in 2018 to focus instead on rallying and touring car racing.

The announcement marks the end of an era in which numerous German drivers rose to the highest ranks of motorsport via VW. Between 1982 and 1991, all but two German Formula 3 champions earned their titles driving VW-powered Formula 3 cars.

Drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Le Mans-winner Tom Kristensen, F1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr, and Brenden Hartley are all among the drivers who have gone on to great success following their stint behind the wheel VW-powered cars.

Volkswagen Motorsport will now focus more fiercely on its production-based race cars, like the Golf GTI TCR, which races in Touring Car series around the world, and the Polo GTI R5, which races in the World Rally Championship’s second-tier series, WRC2.

“The Golf GTI TCR is already an important ambassador for the brand in many racing series around the world, and we are pursuing the same goal with the new Polo GTI R5,” said Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, in a statement. “Both cars are not only attractive propositions for professional customer teams but also represent top-class cars for talented youngsters. This way, we are also able to continue our long-term philosophy of offering youth opportunities.”

Since VW’s dieselgate scandal, its racing endeavors have been slowed. The team pulled out of the WRC’s top series suddenly after winning four straight championships in an effort to save money. The team continues to race in TCR, WRC2, and two major rallycross championships, though. 

Moreover, it has announced that it will also race an electric car to the top of Pikes Peak this summer in an attempt to set a record and set the tone for its coming range of electric vehicles. This, though, won’t be production-based, according to a VW spokesperson.