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VW has announced it is returning to the Nürburgring 24-hour race in 2011 with an all-new challenger – the Golf24. The new car has been timed to celebrate the Golf GTI’s 35th anniversary in front of the huge crowds that attend the race.
Equipped with four-wheel drive and developing 440hp, the dramatic racing version of Volkswagen’s best-selling model has already undergone initial testing ahead of the legendary race, which is regarded as one of the toughest tests in the motorsport calendar. It takes place from 23 to 26 June.
The Golf24 is fitted with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 440hp and maximum torque of 400 lb-ft. Power is transmitted to the permanent four-wheel drive by a sequential six-speed gearbox with paddle shift operation. Volkswagen’s last factory attempt with the Golf on the famous Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit dates back to 2007 when a 300hp FWD vehicle finished in eighth place overall. It was followed by successive class victories for the Scirocco GT24 (below) over the past three years.
However, VW decided that the competitiveness of the event has increased enormously and a new technical concept was required. Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen explained: “With the Golf24 we are continuing our commitment to the Nürburgring 24-hour race. The event enjoys huge popularity, is one of the true classics in motorsport and, due to its extreme distance and unique race track, also represents a very big technical challenge. With our spectacular Golf we want to provide a highlight in time for the 35th anniversary of the GTI this year.”
Before lining up on the grid of the grueling 25km circuit, the Golf24 will undergo extensive testing. This began last year at Portugal’s Portimão circuit and further tests have been completed at Vallelunga in Italy. The Golf24 will also compete in three races in the Endurance Championship on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.