Volkswagen’s shock withdrawal from the World Rally Championship won’t preclude it from making a motorsport comeback in an electric-powered racing series, according to the firm’s sales and marketing boss, Jürgen Stackmann.
In a story exclusively broken by Autocar last month, the future activities of the hugely successful WRC team have been cancelled immediately, with Volkswagen’s rally division being redeployed in customer motorsport activities such as the TCR touring car championship and a new Volkswagen Polo rally car being developed to the lower-tier R5 rules.
At the Los Angeles motor show Stackmann said: “The rally team exceeded all expectations by far and we have taken a decision to focus on the customer end of motorsport. We will see in the next years how we evolve, but I think there are some interesting aspects in electric motorsport. It’s a young scene, which might show opportunities in the years to come, but it is way too early to make a call on that one.”
With sister brand Audi already participating in the FIA Formula E Championship, one option for Volkswagen could be the planned electric rallycross category that’s due to be introduced into the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) in 2018.
Despite the WRC withdrawal, the manufacturer’s US division is continuing to fund participation in the GRC for the next two years. Volkswagen has won the title for the past two seasons with driver Scott Speed in a four-wheel-drive VW Beetle with 552bhp on tap.
Volkswagen was one of several manufacturers to express an interest in electric rallycross when plans for the new initiative were first floated earlier this year.