With Tanner Foust’s race-winning performance in Seattle, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross clinched VW’s first Red Bull Global Rallycross Manufacturer’s Championship title, the latest in a long list achievements the team has accumulated in only three years of competition. Volkswagen becomes only the second manufacturer in series history to claim championship honors, despite running only two cars through each Red Bull GRC round in 2016—fewer than any other competing brand. Winning the Manufacturer’s crown is just the latest of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross’s achievements in the squad’s three-year history. Let’s take a look back on the team’s Red Bull GRC highlights.
Volkswagen announced the creation of its Red Bull GRC team and partnership with Andretti Autosport at the Chicago Auto Show in February of 2014. The team drafted two-time series champion, Tanner Foust and veteran motorsports competitor, Scott Speed as their inaugural driver pairing. For its first year of competition, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross would compete with Volkswagen Polos rented from a European Rallycross team. While work was being completed on a pair of new Volkswagen Beetle GRCs, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross used their borrowed Polos to good effect, bursting onto the Red Bull GRC scene with two straight victories, including a prestigious Gold Medal at Summer X Games in Austin. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross won four races in its inaugural year—more than any other manufacturer—and Scott Speed finished third in the final points standings, marking a strong debut season for team and driver.
Rallycross fans got a glimpse of the future of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross in the closing races of 2014. Tanner Foust competed the final two events of the season in a brand-new, 560-horsepower Beetle GRC, building the foundation for future success using the specially-built platform.
With an engine upgrade from 1.8 to 2.0L, a new car, and a year of experience under their belts, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross was ready for a full out attack on the 2015 season. Another Summer X Games Gold and victory in the second round of the Red Bull GRC championship at Daytona proved that the Beetle GRC was fast, but teething issues and mechanical gremlins plagued the team throughout the early part of the season.
Things took a turn in the last quarter of the year when Scott Speed and Tanner Foust claimed doubleheader sweeps at Los Angeles and Barbados respectively, becoming the first drivers in series history to do so. The quartet of double podium finishes clinched the Driver’s Championship for either Speed or Foust heading into the season finale in Las Vegas. With a third place finish, Scott Speed emerged as the 2015 Red Bull GRC Champion, adding to his already impressive tally of three X Games Gold Medals. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross took overall team honors for the year, beating out veteran Rallycross squads in only its second year of competition.
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross began 2016 where it left off, sweeping the season-opening rounds in Phoenix. With a development year on the Beetle GRC behind them, the team set about on the task of wringing the full potential from their machines. With an unchanged driver lineup and many returning crew members, stability has returned impressive results for the team which netted a first Manufacturer’s Championship for Volkswagen before the final two races of the season. Despite running fewer cars than other manufacturers, the Volkswagen Beetle GRC has won seven of ten races this season, placing Foust and Speed at the top of the championship standings before the season-ending doubleheader in Los Angeles. Having already brought home one championship for VW in 2016, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross is primed to deliver a second consecutive Driver’s Championship, planting its name at the top of the Red Bull GRC field.
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Statistics
Seasons Entered: 3
Races Entered: 32
Races Won: 17
Podium Finishes: 29
Pole Positions: 17
Driver’s Championships: 1
Team Championships: 1
Manufacturer’s Championships: 1