The World Rally Championship is one of the most mechanically unsympathetic forms of motorsport still active today. Merely having a car survive a rally, let alone a special stage, is achievement alone- and winning a rally is an even taller order. The only way to stay ahead of the competition is to constantly innovate and evolve, and Volkswagen is doing just that with their Polo R WRC for 2017.
There are numerous changes to the guidelines for next year’s WRC season that can be completely exploited by teams for a maximum advantage. The air restrictor increase from 33mm to 36 mm allows more airflow, allowing the engineers to push power outputs up to 380 hp, or 60 hp more than before. The minimum weight of the cars has now been dropped to 1175 kilograms, and in turn the Polo R WRC will be shedding 25 kilograms of dead weight for the 2017 season.
A more aggressive aero package is also employed as a result of the increase in minimum car length: both a larger rear wing and wider front spoiler will help the Polo R WRC stay planted as they blitz through the forest at over 200 km/h. The largest change in regulations is the allowing of an electronically controlled centre differential, which provides a massive advantage in controlling these all-wheel drive machines. Most of the new mechanical components have been tested to their limits, although the appearance of the Polo R WRC may change between now and the first leg of the 2017 WRC.