You might usually associate the Volkswagen Touareg with school-run mums whose furthest foray off-road is up the kerb and onto a wet field – this is something different, this is the new VW Race Touareg 3.
The Volkswagen Race Touareg 3? But isn’t there a VW Race Touareg 2?
That there is, and it’s the Race Touareg 2 that’s taken the chequered flag at the last two Dakar rallies, becoming the first diesel-powered winner in 2009. And after 2010’s 1-2-3 finish, the VW board decided it was onto a good thing and commissioned Volkswagen Motorsport to update its Touareg racer for the January 2011 race.
A trip into the wind tunnel has lead to some aero tweaks here and there on the carbonfibre and Kevlar bodywork, and at the same time VW has taken the opportunity to give the Race Touareg 3 some LED lights and a new grille to ape the looks of the second generation road-going Touareg.
There’s little link with the road car under the revised body though; the spaceframe chassis is made from high-strength steel and power comes from a twin-turbo 2.5 TDI, now further optimised for economy and severe altitude changes but still producing 296bhp and 442lb ft. Three differentials ensure traction on loose surfaces, and a upgraded five-speed sequential ‘box is the transmission of choice. The result is 6.1 seconds to 62mph and 117mph flat out, and the Race Touareg 3 will achieve those figures on pretty much any surface. The new car has already undergone 10,000km of testing, and will do more miles ahead of the 2011 Dakar Rally.
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