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From Flower power get firepower – The new GRC Beetle

Snapshot: Since its inception, the Beetle has been used for motorsport events, in Rallys and for drag racing but was never a serious contender. So...

The Beetle has always been the Apple of Volkswagens lineup. With its stubby wheelbase and bug-like design the Beetle has been around since the rock n rolldays of the 60s. Since its inception, the Beetle has been used for motorsport events, in Rallys and for drag racing but was never a serious contender. So when Volkswagen announced the Beetle as their 2014 GRC contender at the Chicago Motorshow there were more than a few people who didn’t quite understand how the company plans to turn a small little hippie car into a mud-slinging machine. Only till everyone heard the specs! 

To start with, the GRC Beetle does have quite similar engine and internals to the VW Motorsport’s World Rally Championship Polo, both use the same 1.6-litre block. But due to FIA/WRC rules for using a 33mm air restrictor, the power is limited to 315bhp. In the Global Rallycross though, the rules are easier, allowing a 44mm restrictor to be installed onto the turbocharger, result – 544bhp! Yes that’s right, the Rallycross Beetle produces almost twice the amount of power to the WRC car. With only 1200kgs of weight to lug around, the 544bhp monster bug is capable of accelerating to 100kmph in a mere 2.1 seconds (same amount of time you took to read this sentence!). 

Brute power is no use when it cannot be put to the ground and converted into acceleration. For this purpose, the Beetle is fitted with a fulltime four-wheel drive system with limited slip differentials on both ends and 17-inch race rubber to keep things sticky. Power is transmitted through a 6-speed sequential box. To keep dynamics to their purpose, the GRC car gets a massive 9.1-inch suspension travel with the ZF dampers working full time to ensure stability and endurance to any situation thrown at it. 

The GRC Beetle is developed by Andretti Autosport, a company also responsible for developing championship winning cars in Nascar and Indy Lights, soon to also be seen in FIA’s Latest motorsport, Formula E. Combined with the winning duo of Tanner Foust and Scot Speed to pilot VW’s new monster bug, the 2014 season surely looks promising. 

ALSO READ: Jaguar prepares for Blitzkrieg with XE!

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