Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI GTC Race Car Debuts For South Africa Series
7 July 2020 - motor1
It looks like a natural track tamer in its racing livery.
Volkswagen isn't a stranger to race tracks. In civilian trim, the GTI hot hatch loves to be tossed around on track days and tight autocross courses. In the world of Africa's Global Touring Cars (GTC) racing series, VW has successfully campaigned a racing version of the Jetta. Now, it's the GTI's turn for checkered-flag glory as the automaker's newest GTC entry.
"For the past four years we have been racing with the Jetta," said Martina Biene, head of Volkswagen brand in South Africa. "Since the Jetta is no longer offered in right-hand drive markets, we had to find an appropriate successor and that is where the idea to use the Golf 8 GTI came from. Even though the Golf 8 GTI will only be officially launched and available from South African dealers in 2021, we wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the Golf 8 GTI's performance attributes ahead of the local market introduction."
As the photos below suggest, the GTC version of the GTI isn't exactly showroom stock. VW doesn't offer full details on the racing conversion, but the car does get a chrome-moly tubular chassis. To comply with GTC rules, all vehicles must have a common chassis and running gear, as well as suspension and tires. As such, the series emphasizes driver skill over the capability of the cars.
The debut of the race car is also meant as a preview for road-going GTIs. The hot hatchback will offer drivers 242 hp (180 kW) turning the front wheels when it goes on sale next year. A hotter TCR version is also in the works, fitted with aero tweaks and making a reported 296 hp (221 kW). At the top of the food chain is the Golf R, which is also expected to go on sale as a 2022 model and could have as much as 329 hp (245 kW) turning all four wheels.
As for the GTC series, coronavirus has delayed the start of the 2020 season as it has for pretty much every racing venue this year. An official date for the first race hasn't been confirmed, but rumors say it could happen in August.