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Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 Customer Race Car Unveiled

Just months after the debut of the new Polo GTI, there's an official racing version. Say hello to the GTI R5, which similar to the Fabia R5 is a customer race car for teams looking for rally racing success.
Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 Customer Race Car Unveiled 4 photos
Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 Customer Race Car UnveiledVolkswagen Polo GTI R5 Customer Race Car UnveiledVolkswagen Polo GTI R5 Customer Race Car Unveiled
The new R5 model is based on the sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo supermini and made its debut during the official driving presentation of the regular GTI in Palma de Majorca on Monday evening.

While the road-going Polo GTI now uses a 2-liter turbo engine, the GTI R5 boasts a 1.6-liter one. It's still got direct fuel injection and a turbo, but because race cars don't have to play by the rules, it makes 272 HP versus 200 for the regular model. An air restrictor has been installed to limit the amount of oxygen going in and thus keep performance down. Otherwise, she would be even more powerful.

Naturally, it also looks more aggressive, thanks to a lowered suspension, racing wheels, fender flares and ground effects meant to keep the GTI R5 glued to the road. At the back, we see a single small exhaust tip and the new trunk wing.

The FIA has stipulated a maximum price for an eligible car in the R5 category, currently sitting at €180,000. This limit will increase to €190,000 in 2018. The Polo has only been testing since 2017. However, the AWD and gearbox came from the authorized R5 supplier and were tailored to the Polo with help from Skoda, a company that's been competing in this category since 2015.

"The price limit is, of course, a challenge for every development department. We inevitably have to make compromises because you can't simply choose the optimal solution in terms of performance which would probably also be the most expensive. It has to be affordable," says Technical Director François-Xavier Demaison. "But engineers are used to conforming with guidelines, whether they're technical or financial. And because the R5 category is about customer motorsport, these cost containment measures make perfect sense."

A good example of this is the fender flares of the Polo GTI R5 which are not made from ultra-lightweight, expensive carbon fiber, but from plastic.

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