We want a GRC Beetle. We want one really bad. The Global Rallycross Championship—a race series that combines high-speed autocross with performance rallying performed in a stadium for maximum spectator, well, spectating—features race-prepared versions of the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Veloster and the like, but the Volkswagen Motorsport-developed Volkswagen Beetle GRC is something we’d like in our garage for, if not every day driving, then a good time on weekends.
Volkswagen debuted the GRC Beetle at the Chicago Auto Show but has now revealed what it calls “the definitive Beetle GRC rallycross car.”
The season began for Volkswagen with a pair of wins with the European rally-prepped VW Polo, a smaller version of the Volkswagen Golf. The new GRC Beetle, however, was developed explicitly with the specific demands of GRC rallycross in mind.
The heart of the GRC Beetle is a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine now said to produce 544 horsepower—VW promised “more than 560 horses” in Chicago, but who’s counting? With a race-ready weight of the class minimum 2668 pounds, plus a sequential six-speed transmission combined with a fixed-ratio all-wheel-drive system and multiplate limited-slip differentials at the front and rear, the GRC Beetle will go from zero to sixty in a mere 2.1 seconds.
Rallycross is a combination of pavement and dirt, including sections where the cars become airborne, so the rear suspension of the multilink rear suspension usually found under a Volkswagen Beetle has been replaced with struts. The standard strut-type front suspension has been replaced with struts but, like the rear, with about 9.1 inches of travel and ZF dampers.
To slow down for the tight corners of the GRC track, the GRC Beetle has 14.0-inch diameter front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes, with four-piston aluminum calipers. Seventeen-inch wheels are mounted with 240/640-R17 Yokohama competition tires.
The rallycross Beetle measures a half inch longer than the standard Beetle and only a half inch more side to side, but reshaped fenders and a more aggressive front fascia makes it look wider. The big rear wing is a race-necessary appendage, but if it were our street car, we’d do without.
And although the race cars will be wrapped in eye-catching paint and sponsor logo, we’re rather fond of the Volkswagen GRC Beetle in wedding day white. But we already said we want one of these, didn’t we? Yes, I think we did.