LOS ANGELES – official release — Foust34 photo — Tanner Foust will drive the new Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle in the Global Rallycross doubleheader this weekend in Los Angeles.
It is the first time the car will hit the track in a competition environment. The back-to-back races at the Port of Los Angeles Sept. 19-21 will serve as the first real-world test for the vehicle, which is under development for a full assault on the championship in 2015 with the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team.
“We have the opportunity to fast-forward the car’s development by putting it in competition this weekend,” said Foust. “We’ve put miles on the car in test sessions but the only way to know how it’s really going to perform in a race is to race it.”
The new competition car represents a significant step in development for the Volkswagen team. The all-wheel-drive Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle produces some 540 horsepower from a direct-injection 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four and achieves 0-60 miles per hour in less than two seconds.
For the new build, Volkswagen Motorsport has leveraged in-depth product knowledge and technology already proven in competition environments around the world, including in the brand’s successful World Rally Championship program.
Foust, who recovered from an uneven start to the GRC season with a July win at the New York round of the championship, said he will be pulling double-duty this weekend. In addition to pushing for a result, he will focus on providing critical feedback on the car between on-track sessions.
“There are a lot of engineers from Volkswagen Motorsport here supporting the team this weekend,” said Foust. “The car is amazing to drive already but it’s brand new and we want to continue its development for next season.”
Following an initial few practice laps on the course Thursday at the Port of Los Angeles, Foust said he can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.
“It’s the meanest Beetle on the launch when it slams you back on the seat and takes your breath away,” he said. “But at the same time, it feels very refined when you carve it through the turns. It’s almost got a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde feel to it.”
This season marks the first year in rallycross for the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. Foust and teammate Scott Speed opened 2014 in a pair of Volkswagen Polo rallycross cars developed from the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship.
The Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle also features a new take on Foust’s familiar livery design. The yellow and black paint scheme has been updated to compliment the Beetle’s iconic shape and features reflective chrome elements that highlight the distinctive lines of the car.
“It’s an honor to get the chance to race this Beetle for the first time,” said Foust. “It feels like we’re at the start of a new era in the sport of rallycross.”