With 41 real-world manufacturers now available to download from the Simraceway online simulation, we’re launching a new series of potted histories covering a selection of the most prominent marques. First up? Volkswagen.
Now the world’s second-largest automaker, Volkswagen was formed in Germany in 1937 to produce a car for the masses. In 1938 the ubiquitous Beetle was born, fulfilling the brief in spectacular fashion with an unprecedented 65-year production run—and unwittingly helping to launch VW’s involvement in motorsports.
In 1966 the company established a junior open-wheeled motor racing formula using cars built mainly from Beetle parts. Due to this cost-effective method of car creation, “Formula Vee” proved a popular introduction to formula racing, its effectiveness demonstrated by the graduation of the likes of Niki Lauda and Emerson Fittipaldi to Formula One. Confirming its commitment to single-seater racing, Volkswagen also went on to become a successful Formula Three engine supplier.
However despite the marque’s record in open-wheeled racing—and its success in events as varied as the 24 Hours of Le Mans , which featured a 2001 class win for the Reynard-Volkswagen 2KQ-LM, and the European Truck Racing Championship, which produced two consecutive wins for the Titan in 2004 and 2005—it is perhaps best-known for its involvement in rallying.
In 1986 a Golf GTI 16V gained Group A success in the World Rally Championship but it was a victory for the Iltis six years earlier in the embryonic Dakar Rally that would prove more of a template for the company’s success on the dirt, with the purpose-built Race Touareg following several promising performances with three consecutive Dakar titles, including two 1-2-3 finishes in 2010 and 2011.
Despite its popular US-based, single-make racing series, the Jetta TDI Cup (which featured the car of the same name) folding in 2011, Volkswagen was still well-represented on the track by its various sporty brands, which include Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and SEAT.
The manufacturer spread its motorsport wings still further in 2013, by returning to–and utterly dominating–the World Rally Championship, while rumors linking the marque to a Formula One debut continue to persist.
To view its Volkswagen offerings, head to Simraceway Online Racing World’s cars page, click the MANUFACTURER dropdown and select the VW logo.
Sign up for Email Alerts
Enter your email address to be kept up-to-date on news and events from Sears Point Performance Driving.