Volkswagen has announced that it is to return to the demanding Nürburgring 24-hour race in 2011 with an all-new challenger – the Golf24. Equipped with four-wheel drive and developing 434 bhp, the dramatic racing version of Volkswagen’s best-selling model has already undergone initial testing in Portugal and Italy ahead of the legendary 24-hour race.

Unlike the Scirocco GT24-CNG used in recent years, Volkswagen have dispensed with Bio natural gas for the Golf24 which is fitted with a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 434 bhp and maximum torque of 540 Nm. Power is transmitted to the permanent four-wheel drive by a sequential six-speed gearbox with paddle shift operation.

Volkswagen’s last “factory” fielding of the Golf on the famous Nürburgring-Nordschleife was back to 2007, at which time the front-wheel drive vehicle that delivered about 300 hp finished in eighth place overall. Successive class victories for the Scirocco GT24 over the past three years have followed but the competitiveness of the event has increased enormously meaning a new technical concept was required.

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen explains: ‘With the new Golf24 we are continuing our successful commitment at the Nürburgring 24-hour race. The event enjoys huge popularity, is one of the true classics in motorsport and, due to its extreme distance and unique race track, also represents a very big technical challenge, With our spectacular Golf we want to provide an additional highlight in front of a large audience – right in time for the 35th anniversary of the GTI this year.’

Before lining up on the grid of the gruelling 25 km circuit for the race which this year takes place from 23 to 26 June, the Golf24 will undergo an extensive testing and development programme. This began at the end of last year at Portugal’s Portimão circuit and further tests have been completed at Vallelunga in Italy. The Golf24 will also compete in three races in the Endurance Championship on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.

Photo Gallery