Volkswagen Motorsport: 50 Year Anniversary of Racing Debut
Volkswagen Motorsport has a distinguished legacy in racing, from origins in Formula V to three-time world rally champions. VW is honoring this rich racing history by celebrating its 50 year anniversary of its debut in the sport.
Birth of Volkswagen Motorsport
The birth of Volkswagen Motorsport dates back 50 years to July 11, 1966, when a group of Munich-based traders and importers who shared an interest in the sport founded the “Verband Formel V Europa e. V.” However, it all started in the U.S. back in 1963: it was here that the automaker from Wolfsburg’s technology was used to launch the Formula Vee junior racing series. The small, single-seater racing cars — with components from the iconic Volkswagen Beetle — also made a name for themselves in Germany as re-imports. By 1971 the philosophy had developed into the Formula Super Vee series, which produced eventual world champions including Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg.
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VW Motorport and Promotion of Young Drivers
Eventually the VW racing team moved to Hannover where Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH entered the Commercial Register in 2004. To this day, the company is still based in Hannover. After the successful Formula Vee era, Volkswagen proceeded to make a name for itself when it came to promoting talented young drivers: record Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen both started their career in Formula 3, powered by Volkswagen.
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VW Motorsports: Touring Car Racing and Rallycross
VW Motorsports has also achieved much success in touring car racing and rallycross. From 1988 to 2014, many young drivers learned the A to Z of motor racing in the touring car school. On top of this came class victories at the Nürburgring 24 Hours with a natural gas-powered Scirocco GT24. In rallycross, Volkswagen claimed a hat-trick of wins at the Dakar Rally with the Race Touareg from 2009 to 2011. The pinnacle of the manufacturer’s success on the motorsport scene followed when it entered the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Three years in a row — from 2013 to 2015 — Volkswagen won all three titles with the Polo R WRC: the Manufacturers’ Championship plus the Driver and Co-Drivers’ Championships with drivers Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. With the celebration of its 50th anniversary of racing, VW Motorsports looks to continue its legendary run of success.
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