Just like that Volkswagen has quit all racing activities. We already knew that VW had stopped supporting all of its racing programs using an internal combustion engine. It said at the time it wanted to put a “clear emphasis on fully-electric racing cars.” But today Volkswagen has gone even further by killing all of its motorsports activities.
VW says it is doing this as “part of the company’s realignment”
This comes only one day after Audi quit Formula E series racing activities. VW in a statement says it is doing this as “part of the company’s realignment.” Those currently working in the VW Motorsport GmbH division will be placed in other programs within Volkswagen AG according to Motorsport.
“The Volkswagen brand is on its way to becoming the leading supplier in sustainable electric mobility,” says Chief development officer of the VW brand Frank Welsch. “To this end, we are joining forces and have decided to discontinue our own motorsport activities for the Volkswagen brand.
“The motorsport workforce will subsequently be integrated into Volkswagen AG. The deep technical expertise of the employees as well as the gained know-how from the ID.R [all-electric prototype] project will thus remain in the company and will help us to bring further efficient models of the ID family onto the road.”
Production of the Polo R5 will stop at the end of 2020
For those with the Polo GTI R5 rally car or Golf GTI TCR touring car the spare parts supply has been “ensured in the long term.” Production of the Polo R5 will stop at the end of 2020.
Wilfried von Rath, chief human resources officer at VW, added: “The team of Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH has achieved significant sporting successes for the brand over decades. For the many victories, titles, and records around the globe and their personal commitment, I sincerely thank all employees. We are pleased that we will receive employment at this challenging time and will make a takeover offer to all employees.”
Volkswagen has a five-decade history in racing
In its five-decade history in racing, VW has notably backed the Formula Vee and enjoyed success at Formula 3 level. The Polo won four constructors’ World Rally Championship titles with Sebastien Ogier between 2013 and ’16, and three Dakar Rally wins for the Touareg. The ID.R prototype also holds the Goodwood and Pikes Peak Hillclimb records in addition to the electric lap record for the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
An Audi spokesperson told Motorsport.com that its decision to quit Formula E racing and the VW Motorsport plan had been made separately. They were not part of an overall VW Group strategy. So just like that VW racing is over. Will other manufacturers follow suit? Should we expect this in the NASCAR ranks? Sponsored road racing? We’ll let you know if and when it happens.