Volkswagen Unveils Race Touareg at LA Auto Show

Nov. 19, 2008 By Scott Rousseau
Clean, Mean and Green

Volkswagen unveiled its highly anticipated Baja Race Touareg before a throng of international motoring press at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles today, and if the reception the vehicle received is any indication, the twin turbo diesel-powered racer is already a winner. Volkswagen of America Motorsports Manager Clark Campbell thinks so, and it would be hard to argue with him.

“It has been great to build the mystery and mystique, but I’m sure happy to get the cover off it, and I’m sure that a lot of people are happy to finally see it today,” an understandably proud Campbell said. “I’m not sure, but I don’t know that there has ever been a Trophy Truck unveiled at an international auto show like this before.”

Beautifully proportioned, the Baja Race Touareg will carry the sponsorship of Volkswagen and Red Bull at the 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and will be campaigned by 2003 and 2004 Baja 1000 Trophy Truck champions Ryan Arciero (left)and Mark Miller (right). Arciero and Miller enjoyed great success at the 2007 Tecate SCORE Baja 500 when they piloted Volkswagen’s Dakar Touaregs to the finish line. Campbell is looking for more of the same with the Baja Race Touareg.

“When we brought the Dakar vehicles over to the Baja 500 (in 2007), those were tried-and-tested cars, so we knew what to expect with those,” Campbell said. “This car is brand spanking new, and it has a lot of new stuff for us. Our expectation is to go down to Baja and race Baja itself, and we will worry about the competition the next time. For now, let’s just see if we can get a Baja race under our belts and see how we do. My expectation is that we keep to our game plan, we will finish the race, and that is what we want to do.”
SCORE CEO Sal Fish, who was took time out from his preparation for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 to be in Los Angeles for the debut of the Baja Race Touareg, described the vehicle and the media event as a dream come true.

“We were only talking about this a year ago, and it was just an idea,” Fish said. “So to stand here at the LA Convention Center at one of the world’s largest auto shows and see the reception by the press of the Baja Race Touareg with TDI, I’m blown away. I really am. In fact, I have to admit that I had some tears in my eyes. In my 36-year career, this is an outstanding moment in my life. I think this is really going to help our sport immensely. Volkswagen really stepped up, and I wish them all the luck in the world. When you see the resources that Volkswagen has put into this vehicle, with its clean diesel technology, you see what a statement that makes to the world. I’m excited, and I’m anxious to get back down to Ensenada and see what it does in the Baja 1000.”

Campbell was quick to point out, however, that while the Baja Race Touareg program is an extension of Volkswagen’s involvement in SCORE, it does not mark a shift in Volkswagen’s overall commitment to the series.

“Realistically, when you look at what we have wanted to do, we have also wanted to touch the grassroots racer, and that is why we have put up the contingency program that we have,” Campbell said. “This was never [a program] designed for us to come in and be big, bad Volkswagen. We want to come in and race our technology, and we love the open competition, but it isn’t just about our vehicle. We have 100 other Volkswagens that are going to be in this race, and we want to have the contingency program to honor and recognize those folks as well. We are very excited to go down and see the race, and I hope that people will be excited to see the car, cheer us on and look forward to us coming back. We didn’t invest in this car just for one race. We have a long-term plan to run this car for several years.”  

The underlying message with the Baja Race Touareg is that there is more than one way to clean up in Baja.
“Sal Fish is a great person, and he has an interesting sanctioning body,” Campbell said. “Obviously he is thinking very progressively now, allowing turbo diesels to run with a very good understanding of what the environmental message is for SCORE. Keeping the land open that these races are run on is very important, and we as a clean-message brand can bring some sort of green sensitivity in our program, which is good for SCORE.”

Check out our video and photo coverage of the Volkswagen Race Touareg's unveiling at the LA Auto Show on My.Off-Road.

Engine 5.5 liter, 90-degree V12 TDI twin turbo diesel
Induction Dual Garrett TR 30 R w/ dual 43.5mm air restrictors, 2.94 bar (absolute) pressure
Emissions Dow Automotive Diesel Particle Filters (2)
Horsepower 550
Torque 625 ft-lb.
Layout Mid-engine, rear wheel drive
Transmission Xtrac six-speed sequential
Rear Axle Custom-built solid nine-inch
Front Double A-arm – 25 inches of wheel travel
Rear Four-link – 30 inches of wheel travel
Front Shocks Fox Racing Shocks – 3.0 coilover with 3.0 bypass/multi-adjustable dampener
Rear Shocks Fox Racing Shocks – 3.0 coilover with 3.0 bypass/multi-adjustable dampener
Springs Eibach
Wheels KMC custom forged w/beadlock
Tires BFGoodrich Baja KRT – 37x13.5x17
Front/Rear Brembo w/ six-piston calipers
Steering Components Lee Manufacturing
GPS Lowrance 9200 system
Seats Sparco
Fuel Cell Harmon Fuel Cells, 65-gallon capacity
Wheelbase 125 inches
Overall Length 213 inches
Track Width 92 inches
Overall Height 78 inches
Weight 5650 lbs.
Owner Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Chassis Design Arciero Miller Racing
Body Design Volkswagen Design Center California
Sponsors Red Bull, BFGoodrich Tires, Dow Automotive, Oakley, KMC Wheels, Fox Shocks Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!