With the demise of Mitsubishi’s Dakar rally program, Volkswagen has stepped in to fill the void left by the iconic Pajero rally truck. The Race Touraeg has performed admirably, but Volkswagen driver Carlos Sainz demanded that the Race Touraeg 3 be a significant step forward from previous iterations.
While the Race Touraeg 2 was mechanically sound, the third generation car will sport serious improvements to the aerodynamics. Spy photos taken in the Alps show the car looking downright mean when devoid of any sponsorship liveries, but we’re at a loss to explain what any of the aesthetic details also double as aerodynamics aides.
The Race Touraeg 3 is expected to make its competition debut in the Silk Way Rally in Russia starting in September, 2010, after which it will enter the Dakar rally in January.
Hit the jump to see the full press release
Volkswagen develops Race Touareg 3 for the 2011 Dakar Rally
Wolfsburg (06 July 2010). New design, proven technology: Volkswagen is developing an evolution model of the Race Touareg that has been victorious twice in a row for the 2011 Dakar Rally in South America. In January 2011 the Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer will field four Race Tourareg 3 vehicles with fundamentally updated aerodynamics at the desert classic through Argentina and Chile. The cross-country rally vehicle follows the latest production model change and picks up concrete characteristics of the avant-garde shape of the Touareg II. As a result, the new Race Touareg incorporates its outstanding vehicle dynamics qualities in an even more athletic outer skin than before, with proven and extremely successful technology underneath: the TDI engine with an approximate power output of 300 hp as well as the suspension and chassis basically remain untouched.
“The evolution of the vehicle into the Race Touareg 3 represents the next logical step we’re taking towards our big aim of achieving the hat-trick at the Dakar Rally,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “With new aerodynamics this Race Touareg will look even more spectacular than before, while quoting aspects of the design language of the new production Touareg and, in addition, receiving further detailed optimizations. Its core is well proven because we continue to bank on the consistently optimised technology package that has been giving the Race Touareg first-rate performance and maximum reliability.”
Evolution in steps: Race Touareg 3 with a new face
Newly designed and updated: the Race Touareg 3 is by no means a completely new development. It continues to be based on the basic engineering design of the Race Touareg 2 that was introduced in 2005. Since then the cross-country rally prototype with its innovative TDI engine has gone through an evolution in the area of the powertrain and suspension across several steps. In the step towards the Race Touareg 3 the main focus is on the new outer skin.
Tests with the Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 in the deserts of Morocco at the end of July will literally ring in the hot phase of the development programme. The extensive tests including the simulation of several rally distances will be followed by the official unveiling of the vehicle in August. In autumn the Race Touareg 3 will have its baptism of fire in competition with others: the Silk Way Rally through Russia which starts in St. Petersburg and ends in Sochi (11–18 September 2010) is regarded as a serious dress rehearsal for the legendary Dakar Rally (01–16 January 2011).