Motorsport preparation company Prodrive has developed a new rally car based on the latest seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf.
The car, called the VW Golf SCRC, has been designed to compete in the Chinese Rally Championship and will be used in anger for the first time this weekend. Australian Chris Atkinson will drive the car on the Longyou Rally. The FAW-VW Rally Team will run the car on the event.
Prodrive has developed the car in less than six months and while it has not been designed to FIA rules, the company says it has been “built to the spirit of the WRC regulations”.
Many of the major components are the same as those found in current World Rally Cars, while the rollcage and safety features encompass the latest FIA standards.
John Gaw, Prodrive Motorsport managing director, said: “There is more freedom in the Chinese regulations and that has helped us to create this car in such a short timeframe. However, while the first cars will initially compete in China, the car can readily be modified to compete in most ‘open’ class rally series, of which there are many in Europe, Asia and North America.”
Whereas current World Rally Cars, such as the works Volkswagen Polo WRC, use 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines, the Golf SCRC has a two-litre turbocharged four-pot with a slightly larger air restrictor. It produces in the region of 300bhp.
The new Golf's drivetrain is WRC-spec and features the same six-speed sequential Xtrac gearbox and rear differential found in most of the current World Rally Cars.
Some years ago Prodrive developed a 'generic rally car model' that optimised every aspect of a car's performance for competition. The lessons from that project were applied to the Volkswagen Golf, and enabled the company to create the car in a short timescale.
The car's aerodynamics, in particular the composite rear wing, were all developed in-house. The bodywork is predominantly the standard steel panels from a five-door Golf, but with specially developed flexible carbon composite front and rear bumpers and wings.
The Golf SCRC has Macpherson strut suspension front and rear with Prodrive-Ohlins dampers and hydraulic compression stops. Many of the suspension components, including the anti-roll bars and uprights, are interchangeable front to rear to minimise the number of spares. The car also has a standard AP Racing WRC brake package.