VW Golf GTI TCR: the gentleman's 326bhp racer

Published: 08 March 2016

► It's the new Golf GTI TCR racer
► Limited run of 20 touring cars
► Like a very maxed-out Golf R

Ever wondered how far a tuned VW Golf R could be stretched by the factory? Now we know. The new Golf GTI TCR customer racer shares the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine - and boasts a somewhat highly strung 326bhp output.

The same 1984cc four-pot here develops a stout 302lb ft of torque - but all drive is sent to the front axle alone, leaving the sticky 18in Michelin race slicks to keep all that power on the race track and not frazzled in a fug of burnt rubber when you turn into the first corner at Goodwood.

What's the point of the Golf GTI TCR?

It's the customer racing version of the track-ready Golf. Only 20 of these touring cars will be built and VW Motorsport, which prepares them, says all have been sold for use in national and international touring car championships.

The chassis is 40cm wider than a production Golf's. Most of it just to accommodate that Boeing-spec rear wing, we'd wager. Yet it weighs in at just 1280kg, down from one-and-a-half tonnes of the roadgoing version.

And there are the usual race-car tweaks to upgrade Aunt Doris's Golf to something rather more serious: a sequential gearbox instead of DSG, adjustable suspension and beefy-looking six-pot calipers to wipe off all that speed.

See the mega-Golf in action at these races

The TCR International Series calendar, where the Golf GTI TCR will compete, looks something like this:

01/04–03/04/2016 Bahrain*
22/04–24/04/2016 Portugal (Estoril)
06/05–08/05/2016 Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
20/05–22/05/2016 Italy (Monza)
03/06–05/06/2016 Austria (Salzburg)
17/06–19/06/2016 Germany (Oschersleben)
01/07–03/07/2016 Russia (Sochi)
26/08–28/08/2016 Thailand (Buriram)
16/09–18/09/2016 Singapore*
30/09–02/10/2016 Malaysia (Sepang)*
18/11–20/11/2016 Macau

* supporting the F1 championship

The VW Golf world touring car

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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