Vokswagen’s WRC title defence starts next week when Rallye Monte Carlo gets underway and this is the car they will be using.
The most immediate change is the new livery, but underneath the skin the second-gen Polo R WRC has been given a thorough going over. The most notable technical change for 2015 is the introduction of steering wheel mounted paddles for changing gears; the old sequential lever gearsticks are no longer in place.
“The new Polo R WRC has undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside,” said Dr Heinz-Jakob NeuÃŸer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development. “Not only does it look even more dynamic and sporty than it did before, but our engineers have also been working meticulously on technical innovations under the bonnet and have improved many detailed aspects of the package that has been so successful for the past two years.
“The focus of this further development was on efficiency, reliability and performance. We can hardly wait to see the new Polo R WRC in Monte Carlo and at the other twelve rallies on four continents.”
World Champion Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala will get their 2015-spec Polos straight away, while junior driver Andreas Mikkelsen will have to wait until the fifth rally of the year in Portugal.
New technology, new design: Presenting the second generation Polo R WRC
- World premiere of the 318-hp Polo R WRC in Wolfsburg
- Member of the Board, Dr. Heinz-Jakob NeuÃŸer, launches title defence
- WRC kicks off with the iconic Rally Monte Carlo from 22â€“25 January
In top form, both technically and visually: Volkswagen presented the second generation of the Polo R WRC in Autostadt, Wolfsburg. The works team from Wolfsburg has its sights set firmly on another successful defence of its titles in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a new car and a new look. Volkswagen completed a clean sweep of all the World Championship titles when the Polo R WRC made its debut in 2013, before repeating this impressive feat last season. Continuity is the key to the driving line-up for 2015: double world champions SÃ©bastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola FlÃ¸ene (N/N) will roll down the starting ramp and head onto the first special stage of the year for Volkswagen at the legendary Rally Monte Carlo on 22 January.
â€œThe new Polo R WRC has undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside,â€ said Dr. Heinz-Jakob NeuÃŸer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development. â€œNot only does it look even more dynamic and sporty than it did before, but our engineers have also been working meticulously on technical innovations under the bonnet and have improved many detailed aspects of the package that has been so successful for the past two years. The focus of this further development was on efficiency, reliability and performance. We can hardly wait to see the new Polo R WRC in Monte Carlo and at the other twelve rallies on four continents.â€
Title defence in blue, blue and white: new design for the next generation of Polo R WRC
The most striking change to the Polo R WRC for the 2015 season is its exterior. The white has given way to dark-blue. White and light-blue stripes see the dark-blue front merge into the white rear, which features a towering new rear wing. Also integrated in the new design are Volkswagenâ€™s other partners in the World Rally Championship: Red Bull, lubricant partner Castrol, Volkswagen Financial Services, tyre partner Michelin, chassis and clutch specialist ZF Sachs, and supplier OMP.
The Volkswagen engineers have been hard at work implementing many new ideas under the bonnet. The hydraulically activated gearbox, which is operated via a shift paddle on the steering column, represents the biggest innovation. Furthermore, three quarters of last yearâ€™s components were checked and many of them optimised, with the aim of making everything â€œsimpler, lighter, and strongerâ€.
Quotes ahead of the WRC season
SÃ©bastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
â€œI am very optimistic that the new car will get off to just as good a start as its predecessor. We have done a lot of testing and we drivers have worked very closely with the engineers. We put a lot of effort into developing the new shift paddle, which represents real progress. We are looking forward to the new season. It will be exciting to see how we fare against the other teams. The tests have gone well so far, and our engineers have done a good job. The Polo R WRC is even better than it was before.â€
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
â€œThe new car feels really good, and we are ready for the new season â€“ at last. We will be using the shift paddle on the steering wheel to change gear this year, and I really like it. On the whole, the new Polo is faster and even better than the 2014 car. I am not the only one to feel that way â€“ SÃ©bastien and Andreas agree with me. There is no question about it, we are looking forward to the 2015 season.â€
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
â€œFirst and foremost: the new design is really cool. I really like the new colours and new design, and am even a little bit prouder to be driving the Polo R WRC. I will still be driving the 2014 Polo at the start of the season, and will not switch to the â€˜newâ€™ car until the Rally Portugal. However, that is no problem. After all, our world championship winning car has more than proven itself, and is certainly anything but slow.â€
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
â€œA launch like ours today is always a welcome sign that the start of the season is upon us. The whole team has worked long and hard to ensure that we are ready for the Rally Monte Carlo. Today has given us the final boost emotionally. It is fantastic that the Volkswagen Board and employees support us so enthusiastically. Motorsport receives huge interest and backing at Volkswagen. It is now important to repay this support over the course of the new season.â€
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), 2015 season
22/01â€“25/01/2015 â€“ Rally Monte Carlo
12/02â€“15/02/2015 â€“ Rally Sweden
05/03â€“08/03/2015 â€“ Rally Mexico
23/04â€“26/04/2015 â€“ Rally Argentina
21/05â€“24/05/2015 â€“ Rally Portugal
11/06â€“14/06/2015 â€“ Rally Italy
02/07â€“05/07/2015 â€“ Rally Poland
30/07â€“02/08/2015 â€“ Rally Finland
20/08â€“23/08/2015 â€“ Rally Germany
10/09â€“13/09/2015 â€“ Rally Australia
01/10â€“04/10/2015 â€“ Rally France
22/10â€“25/10/2015 â€“ Rally Spain
12/11â€“15/11/2015 â€“ Rally Great Britain