At the Nrburgring 24-Hour Race on May 23/24 Volkswagen will field two Sciroccos with innovative natural gas engines. Following the historic one-two victory at the Dakar Rally in January, which VW won as the first automobile manufacturer using diesel technology, the Wolfsburg brand is now taking on another technical challenge - the use of EcoFuel engines in the endurance test on the world's most demanding race track.
The two Scirocco GT24-CNG 2.0-liter turbo engines powered by natural gas deliver nearly 300hp. In addition, the factory team will field three further Scirocco GT24s powered by regular 2.0-liter turbo engines in the classic endurance race at the "Green Hell" in the Eifel region in Germany. Last year, VW clinched a one-two victory in the 2.0-liter turbo class with the Scirocco before the car's official market launch.
"The 24-Hour Race offers Volkswagen an exciting stage to demonstrate its technical capabilities and expertise," said VW Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. For this tough test on the challenging Nordschleife, VW developed a CNG (compressed natural gas) version based on the 2.0-liter gasoline engine that was victorious last year. The engineers focused on the fuel induction system as well as on the balance between maximum exhaust gas temperature and full use of the turbo's potential to optimize both drivability and power output. The result is just under 300hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is transmitted to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG transmission.
The new generation of natural gas turbo engines takes advantage of the high anti-knock quality of approximately 130-octane offered by natural gas fuel. This enables natural gas vehicles to achieve a level of driving dynamics unrivalled by any other powertrain. Furthermore, natural gas is particularly eco-friendly and cost-effective. On average, natural gas vehicles reduce CO2 emissions by 25% compared with conventional spark ignition engines. The combustion process generates almost no particulate matter or fine dust.
In addition to these technological innovations, VW will tackle the "Green Hell" with interesting driver combinations. The two natural gas-powered Scirocco GT24-CNG cars will be driven by Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (D), Board Member for Technical Development of the VW Brand, and journalists Bernd Ostmann (D), Peter Wyss (CH) and John Barker (GB), as well as touring car ace Peter Terting (D), Nordschleife expert Thomas Klenke (D), former DTM driver Vanina Ickx (B) and touring car legend Klaus Niedzwiedz (D) - two-time overall winner of the 24-Hour race at the Nrburgring.
The squad of one of the three gasoline-powered Scirocco GT24 cars reflects the exploit achieved at the Dakar Rally: "Dakar" winner Giniel de Villiers (ZA), two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz (E) as well as Dieter Depping (D) will take turns at the wheel.