Volkswagen to cease motorsport operation, axe ID R project


Volkswagen has announced it will cease its brand motorsport activities – including the ID R – as it starts “pooling its strengths” to focus on electric mobility. 

Volkswagen Motorsport’s 169 staff at its Hanover base will be integrated into the brand’s overall operations in Wolfsburg in the coming months, a release has confirmed. 

The move also means that the electric ID R project has come to an end. That’s despite an announcement only last year that the motorsport division would focus solely on electric racing projects. 

“The Volkswagen brand is on the way to becoming the leading provider of sustainable e-mobility,” said board member in charge of development Frank Welsch. “To this end, we are pooling our strengths and have decided to terminate the Volkswagen brand’s motorsport activities. The motorsport workforce will be integrated in Volkswagen AG.

“The deep technical expertise of the motorsport employees and the know-how gained from the ID R project will remain in the company and will help us put further efficient models from the ID family on the road.” 

The move also means the end of customer racing programmes involving the Polo GTI R5 rally car and Golf GTI TCR touring car, with production of the former ceasing at the end of this year. The “long-term supply” of spare parts for both models is said to be “secure”. 

Volkswagen Motorsport has a five-decade history but has enjoyed most of its successes in the past decade. These include four World Rally Championship titles, three World Rallycross Championship titles, two TCR international touring car titles and three Dakar Rally wins.

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The ID R electric racer has also been hugely successful in breaking records. It smashed the overall record for the Pikes Peak hillclimb and took the overall electric car record for the Nürburgring Nordschleife and Tianmen Mountain in China. VW Motorsport boss Sven Smeets even told Autocar earlier this year that a second-generation version was in the works. 

VW sibling brand Audi announced a less radical shake-up of its motorsport operations just last night. It will leave Formula E after the 2021 season, focusing its efforts on a new electric 4×4 for the 2022 Dakar Rally. It is also “intensively preparing” an entry into the new top-flight Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDH) hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship. 

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