Volkswagen has unveiled the first official image of its 2017 Polo R WRC car. The sketch provides an idea as to what we can expect from all competing manufacturers next year when WRC cars will change to satisfy updated regulations for 2017.
Next year’s Polo R WRC has grown 50mm wider and compared to a speculative rendering of what the cars may have looked like (below), the design remains familiar to the current car.
The most substantial change next year is the car’s power output increasing from 234kW to 280kW, which when combined with a 25kg reduction in heft will see power-to-weight increase dramatically. The extra power in the Polo R will come in part from increasing the turbo’s air restrictor size from 33mm to 36mm.
Along with more power and lower weight will be the revival of a centre differential and increased aerodynamics for better downforce. The combination of changes will see the fastest cars ever to grace the WRC and compete on its stages, however it may not be the spectacle that is expected.
The increase in aerodynamics, grip and handling has drivers and spectators concerned that there will be less excitement as the cars sit on the ground like they’re on a quality sealed road, not gravel.
Records are set to be broken by considerable margins, especially on long fast stages such as Finland, however if something goes wrong there’s the potential for severe crashes.
VW Motorsport Director Jost Capito is more positive about next year: “The 2017 WRC regulations include many spectacular technical innovations for the World Rally Championship. The World Rally Cars of the future will incorporate all the experience teams have gained in recent years.
“They will be considerably more dynamic, while at the same time being safer. As usual, we are working painstakingly on the development of the next generation of the Polo R WRC.
“The key between now and the start of next season is to achieve the best possible prerequisites to allow the 2017 Polo R WRC to be as successful as its two predecessors.”
It is expected VW will begin private testing immediately to ensure a smooth transition in to the faster car for next year.