The e-Golf Could Go to the Races

The e-Golf is currently VW’s only electric offering in North America, but until recently it was limited to the CARB states. So how shall VW get people across America excited about it? By going to the races, of course.

Volkswagen has, in the past, expressed an interest in an electric rallycross series, and if such a series gets off the ground, they’re likely to race with an e-Golf.

With its newfound love of all things electric, the perfect way to dispell the EV’s reputation for wheezy performance is a race car, and according to VW, rallycross is the perfect place to show off everything they can do.

“We are very, very committed to electric vehicles going forward globally as a brand,” said Greg Lucia, Head of Experiential Marketing, at a recent roundtable interview following a rallycross race in Indianapolis. He added that VW is committed to going racing in an electric series run by Red Bull Global Rallycross.

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Volkswagen already dominates the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series with its Beetles GRC, driven by series leaders Tanner Foust and Scott Speed, but a future e-GRC race car would not look the same.

“That would not be a Beetle. The Beetle won’t be an electric platform for us going forward,” said Lucia.

What it will be isn’t known yet, but seeing as how the e-Golf is the brand’s current electric leader, that’s what makes the most sense.

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“We would want it to match what we’re selling,” said Lucia. “The e-Golf is a very successful brand for us, both globally and in the US, so that would make the most sense for it.”

What may remain from the team’s current GRC program is the team running it. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross has been running VW’s US rallycross team since 2014, and the pairing has been very successful.

On top of its drivers currently holding first and second place in the series, the Beetle has won the last two championships.

“With our relationship with Andretti we would not consider anything outside of that,” said Lucia. “So we are very committed to Andretti and a future with them.”

For his part, Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport’s owner and CEO, said that he too was interested in the series.

“I’m all about this,” he said. “I’m hoping it’ll go E. It’s the perfect place to showcase [electric cars], so I’m all in.”

And that’s good news for VW since Andretti already has electric motorsport experience. The team has been racing in Formula E since 2014 and today announced a partnership with BMW for a full factory-backed team next year, experience that would come in handy in an e-GRC series.

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Even the drivers are on board. GRC points leader, Tanner Foust said that rallycross is the perfect exhibition for EVs.

“All the benefits of electric are what you’re looking for in your performance advantage in rallycross: lots of torque, lots of traction,” said Foust. “Because the races are short, it means that you’re not limited by that factor.”

Foust’s Beetle is among the fastest accelerating cars in motorsport, but he argued that you could go even faster with an electric powertrain.

“A 5,000 lb Tesla goes 0-60 in 2.3 seconds, so I think our cars would be a hell of a lot faster if you take 2,000 lbs out of that and put in a racing drivetrain going to the ground and a proper suspension,” said Foust. “I just got my pilot’s license for this reason.”

That all depends on an e-GRC series coming to fruition. Until then, Foust will have to continue putting his pilot’s license to use catching air in his 2.0-liter turbo Beetle GRC.