Finally, the details are out. First we had some rumours, then some “wait for it” pleas, then some images surfaced on the interwebs all too soon, but now Prodrive finally decided to reveal their latest product, and it’s a rally car. Based on current 7th generation of Volkswagen’s ultrabestseller Golf, Prodrive’s machine is a custom built thing. It will compete in Chinese Rally Championship in the hands of FAW-VW Rally Team drivers. Golf does not meet all FIA regulations and specifications so it does not fit in any of the R categories, but there were no compromises safety-wise as Golf SCRC follows FIA’s rules strictly.
Golf is powered by 2 litre turbocharged engine with a 35 mm restrictor, but it uses WRC spec transmission, gearbox and differential systems. It’s a car which has no intention of disrupting the “business as usual” of current WRC machines, but perhaps it is a sign of a different, more varied future of the sport.
Prodrive’s official release follows below.
Prodrive creates new VW Golf rally car
Prodrive has developed a new rally car based on the latest VW Golf mark VII. The car, called the VW Golf SCRC, has been designed for the FAW-VW Rally Team for the Chinese Rally Championship and will make its debut in the series this weekend (7-9 November) at the Longyou Rally with Chris Atkinson driving.
Prodrive has developed the all-new car in less than six months and while it has not been designed to FIA regulations, many of the major components are the same as those found in current World Rally Cars, while the roll cage and safety features encompass the latest FIA standards.
“We have very much built the car to the spirit of the WRC regulations, but with the Chinese Rally regulations in mind,” said John Gaw, Prodrive Motorsport managing director. “There is more freedom in the Chinese regulations and that has helped us to create this car in such a short time frame. However, while the first cars will initially compete in China, the car can readily be modified to compete in most ‘open’ class rally series, of which there are many in Europe, Asia and North America.”
One of the key differentiators between the Golf SCRC and current World Rally Cars, is that it has a two litre turbocharged engine with a 35 mm restrictor, compared to the 1600cc 33 mm restricted engines found in the WRC. However, the drivetrain is WRC-spec and features the same six speed sequential Xtrac WRC gearbox and rear differential found in most of the current World Rally Cars.
Prodrive was able to create the car in such a short timescale, by using the generic rally car model it had initially developed prior to creating its MINI John Cooper Works WRC. “We inputted data such as the dimensions, centre of gravity and minimum weight, as well as the positions of key items like the engine and gearbox to create the Golf,” said Gaw. “We then looked at every component and element of the car and identified where we could improve it. Around 80 per cent of the car is all new and the remaining components are either common components you would find on all current WRCs or those where we genuinely believe we already have the best part possible.”
The cars aero, and in particular the composite rear wing, were all developed in-house. The bodywork is predominantly the standard steel panels from a five door Golf, but with specially developed flexible carbon composite front and rear bumpers and wings. These impact resistant panels are far more durable and help maintain the aerodynamic performance at the front.
The Golf SCRC has Macpherson strut suspension front and rear with Prodrive-Ohlins dampers and hydraulic compression stops. Many of the suspension components, including the anti-roll bars and uprights, are interchangeable front to rear to minimise the number of spares. The car also has a standard AP Racing WRC brake package.
As Prodrive did successfully with its MINI RX, the Golf could be re-engineered for use in the FIA World Rallycross championship or the GRC in North America. Indeed, the base two litre engine is the same unit as currently used by Mattias Ekstrom in his Audi RX.
The VW Golf means that during its 30 years, Prodrive has now made rally cars with seven different manufacturers, the others being: Porsche, MG Rover, BMW, Subaru, Aston Martin and MINI.
“The team that has designed and engineered the Golf SCRC worked on both the MINI WRC and later versions of the Subaru Impreza WRC. Everything we know about rallying has gone into making this Golf and we believe it is the best rally car we’ve ever made,” added Gaw.
PRODRIVE VW GOLF 7 SCRC
· VW Golf 7 five door bodyshell
· Prodrive roll cage encompassing the latest FIA standards
· Standard VW steel panels plus flexible composite front and rear bumper and wings
· Carbon composite rear wing
· VW 2 litre, four cylinder, port fuel injection, double overhead cam
· Garrett turbo with 35 mm restrictor (CRC regulations) 2 bar maximum boost
· Cosworth engine management system
· Lead acid battery (Li-ion optional)
· Power >300 bhp
· Permanent four wheel drive
· Gearbox: Xtrac 6 speed sequential (WRC spec) with steering column mounted manual gear shift
· Clutch: AP Racing sintered twin plate
· Front differential: Xtrac plated limited slip (WRC spec)
· Rear differential: Xtrac plated limited slip (WRC spec)
· Hand brake rear differential release
· FIA 8862 seats with head protection and six point Sparco harness
· Prodrive designed AP Racing pedal box
· Lifeline fire extinguisher system
· Prodrive wiring harness
· Prodrive driver display
· Cosworth co-driver display
· ATL fuel tank and system
SUSPENSION & STEERING
Front: Prodrive/Ohlins Macpherson strut, 3 way adjustable damper
Rear: Prodrive/Ohlins Macpherson strut, 3 way adjustable damper
Prodrive designed hydraulic power assisted steering rack
WHEELS, TYRES, BRAKES
15” x 7.5” ATS wheels with DMACK tyres
Front: AP Racing 4 pot calipers and 300 mm discs
Rear: AP Racing 4 pot calipers and 300 mm discs
18” x 8” ATS wheels with DMACK tyres
Front: AP Racing 4 pot calipers and 355 mm discs
Rear: AP Racing 4 pot calipers and 355 mm discs
Length: 4268 mm
Width: 1820 mm
Weight: 1150kg (CRC minimum dry weight excluding driver/co-driver)