This fighty-looking little racer is the 2016-spec Volkswagen Golf GTi that will race around the world in TCR series. A development version of the car contested a part campaign in TCR International last year, winning first time out. So there’s every chance the latest version will be a bit good.
Though the badge says GTi, the racer is actually powered by a tuned version of the Golf R’s 2.0-litre turbo motor, producing 325bhp and 302lb/ft of torque. All of which is sent to the front wheels via a proper sequential gearbox. You’ve probably noticed that those wheels are a little further apart than on a standard GTi. Make that a lot further apart: the racer is a whopping 40cm wider.
Given how closely related the road cars are, it’s unsurprising that the Golf shares much with the SEAT Leon Cup. Indeed, the designers and engineers at Volkswagen Motorsport sought a lot of input from their counterparts at SEAT Sport in developing their machine. A smart move, since the Leon makes up the bulk of the TCR field and the series’ technical regulations are largely cribbed from it.
For now at least, Volkswagen is building 20 Golf GTi TCR machines, the first of which reach customers next week. VW hasn’t detailed pricing, but TCR rules stipulate a price cap of €90,000, about £85,000.
Despite initial skepticism and some less than stellar racing, TCR is proving to be a roaring success. Alongside the headline International series, there are 15 national and regional series across the world, some with bulging grids. We are unlikely to see it in the UK, however, because of the deserved dominance of the BTCC in the marketplace. Which becomes even greater this year, with the introduction of the B-Tec Development Series for older machinery; we have a sneaking suspicion it was formed to head of a potential challenge from TCR.
The TCR International Series gets underway in Bahrain on 2 April.
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By Only Motors