From Polo to Lambo, the Volkswagen Group Wants to Sell You a Race Car


Posted on: March 9, 2018

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Porsche 911 GT3


Just a few years ago, the various marques of the Volkswagen Group competed in a wide array of top-level motorsports. But that was then. These days, you won’t see Touaregs tackling the Dakar or Polos dominating the World Rally Championship. Audi and Porsche have pulled their hybrid prototypes from Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship. And no VW Group brand is represented in Formula 1, Indy, or (unsurprisingly) NASCAR, either. Audi still competes in Germany’s DTM touring-car series and, as Porsche soon will, also backs a team in Formula E. But that’s about as close as any Volkswagen brands get to a factory racing effort nowadays.


The world’s largest automaker hasn’t given up on motorsports, though. It’s just taking a different approach. In fact, the Volkswagen Group produces a stalwart array of competition machinery. But instead of spending millions fielding those machines itself, it has built a business around selling its race and rally cars to customer teams. If you have a big enough budget, you can buy one, too.






For $113,000 plus shipping and taxes, Volkswagen will hook you up with its Golf GTI TCR. The racer is based on the familiar hot hatch but adapted to compete under the cost-conscious TCR regulations embraced by the newly amalgamated FIA World Touring Car Cup and a network of national and regional touring-car series around the world. VW has delivered more than 75 of them since 2015, including seven in the United States since it arrived here last November. T&H Technologies handles distribution for North America.


VW Polo GTI R5


Wolfsburg’s motorsports department also recently introduced the Polo GTI R5, a customer rally car that builds on the success of the Polo R WRC that won four back-to-back World Rally Championships from 2013 through 2016. The FIA limits the price of R5 rally cars to the equivalent of $220,000. While VW’s Polo GTI R5 has yet to reach the United States, the first five examples have already been delivered to teams in Europe and South America, with a further 10 to follow later this year.




Audi RS3 LMS


Priced from $125,000, the RS3 LMS serves as the point of entry into Audi Sport’s customer-racing lineup. It’s based on Ingostadt’s smallest sedan, modified to compete in the same TCR class as the Golf GTI. Audi also offers two versions of its mid-engined R8 LMS: a GT4 model for $250,000, and the GT3 version for $450,000. Audi Sport Customer Racing USA has delivered 20 examples of the RS3 LMS, along with a dozen of the R8 LMS in GT4 spec, eight for GT3, and 25 of the previous R8 LMS Ultra.




Porsche 911 GT3-R


Porsche’s customer-racing department is not only the most prolific in the group but boasts that it’s the world’s largest manufacturer of race cars. Its paddock currently consists of the 911 GT3 Cup and GT3 R. The former will set you back $223,000, plus shipping and a $25,000 import fee, and is available only to customers competing in one of the 20 one-make championships Porsche runs around the world, or in competitive series, like the Pirelli World Challenge. An impressive 90 examples of the current model have been delivered to date. Anyone can buy a 911 GT3 R, though, for $520,000 (plus shipping and a $35,000 import fee), and 23 of the latest version have already been delivered. Porsche also previously offered a Clubsport version of the Cayman GT4 for $165,000, and may again once the new model is ready.




Lamborghini Huracan ST Evo


Although historically not as involved in racing as some of its rivals, today Lamborghini offers two racing models, both based on the Huracán supercar. The latest Huracán LP620-4 Super Trofeo Evo forms the backbone of the marque’s spec-racing series in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Your local Lamborghini dealer will sell you one, regardless of what you intend to do with it, for $295,000.


Lamborghini Huracan GT3


The rear-drive Huracán GT3 is sold directly by the manufacturer’s Squadra Corse department for $505,000 but is only available to teams entering it in recognized series such as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship or the Pirelli World Challenge. As of last season, Lamborghini customer teams had about 60 Huracán GT3s competing in a dozen such series around the world, including the International GT Open, Blancpain GT Series, and Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup.




Bentley Continental GT3


Like Lamborghini, Porsche, and Audi, Bentley offers a GT3 racer to customer teams. Approximately 30 examples of the Continental GT3 have been made to date, including two delivered to the States. Bentley is developing a new motorsports model based on the new roadgoing Continental GT, set to make its race debut in April. Once the kinks are ironed out on the track, the first customer cars will begin delivery later this year. In the meantime, the current Continental GT3 is still available from Bentley’s racing partner M-Sport for about $518,000 at current exchange rates, with no commitment to racing it required.


Of course the Volkswagen Group isn’t the only automaker producing race and rally cars for customer teams. But if you’re in the market for one, with such a wide array on offer, chances are the German group and its various brands will have the equipment you’re looking for.

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