One day on from Audi confirming an assault on the Dakar Rally, the World Endurance Championship and IMSA, its parent brand VW has announced it’s quitting motorsport entirely.
Explaining the move, the VW management board’s Dr Frank Welsch said:
“The Volkswagen brand is on the way to becoming the leading provider for sustainable e-mobility. To this end, we are pooling our strengths and have decided to terminate the Volkswagen brand’s own motorsport activities.
“The motorsport workforce will be integrated in Volkswagen AG. The deep technical expertise of the motorsport employees and the know-how gained from the ID.R project will remain with the company and will help us put further efficient models from the ID. family on the road.”
VW Motorsport GmbH employs some 169 people in Hanover, all of which will be brought over to Volkswagen AG’s headquarters in Wolfsburg over the next few months.
Having ended a multiple championship-winning run in WRC thanks to the financial fallout of Dieselgate, VW shifted its focus to motorsport with the likes of the Polo GTI R5 and the Golf GTI TCR touring car (although the latter was built by Cupra Racing in Martorell). Production of the former will conclude at the end of 2020, and a long-term parts supply for both vehicles has been confirmed.
All of this presumably means the ID R (above) will become nothing more than an exhibit at VW’s museum in Wolfsburg. We’ve asked VW’s UK press team what the future holds for the car, but since a vehicle like this will require a bunch of specialised personnel to get running even for short demonstration runs, its future will likely involve static display only.
In any case, VW has extracted a healthy PR return from the car, which has chalked up five world records including for the fastest electric vehicle at the Nurburgring Nordschleife quickest ever run at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.