Why using the new Golf 8 GTI as the GTC race car is a masterstroke by Volkswagen SA


• New GTC race car based on forthcoming Golf 8 GTI.

• VW won the GTC Championship in 2019.

• New race car to produce around 375kW.

• For more motoring stories, go to https://www.wheels24.co.za/

Volkswagen South Africa lifted the veil and revealed its challenger for the 2020 GTC Championship. The Global Touring Cars (GTC) series is the pinnacle motorsport event in South Africa and has been filling that slot for the past several years.

Volkswagen is a successful participant in the series, with 2019 being the manufacturer's most successful after four years of participation. The car VW has been competing with for the past four years was a Jetta, but for the 2020 season, the team is looking to the future. How? By competing in the GTC Championship with the forthcoming Golf 8 GTI.

And if predictions are to be believed, then this could be a masterstroke that will yield success on- and off-track.


Volkswagen's 2020 GTC challenger: Golf 8 GTI race car. (MotorPress)

Why the GTI

For those unaware, VW opted to pull the Jetta from right-hand drive markets, including South Africa. Locally, along with the Jetta, VWSA also axed the Passat. And earlier this year, the Arteon fell by the wayside. The only remaining sedan in VW's local range is the Polo sedan. If the GTC regulations remained the same, chances were that VW would have continued with the Jetta. But several changes allowed the team to look at their challenger afresh.

While the Jetta was successful on the track, it just didn't make sense from a marketing perspective to continue with a car that's no longer on sale locally. Because how can current and prospective owners relate to a car that's not on showroom floors?

READ: He drives a what?! KFM presenter Carl Wastie chats to Wheels24 about his VW Golf Mk1

Martina Biene, head of the Volkswagen Brand, said: "Since the Jetta is no longer offered in right-hand drive markets, we had to find an appropriate successor and that is where the idea to use the Golf 8 GTI came from. Even though the Golf 8 GTI will only be officially launched and available from South African dealers in 2021, we wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the Golf 8 GTI's performance attributes ahead of the local market introduction."


Volkswagen's 2020 GTC challenger: Golf 8 GTI race car. (MotorPress)

Stroke of genius

On VWSA's part, they've gone about the perfect route as they prepare for their 2020 GTC Championship ambitions. By using the Golf 8 GTI, albeit in a very different state-of-tune to the production car, Volkswagen SA can generate interest in one of its most anticipated cars.

If the car is thriving on the track, the connotation with the road-going GTI will be that it's fast. It will benefit from the race-winning pedigree because consumers would want to buy into that success. The Golf 8 GTI race car is a throwback to when VWSA competed in the local racing scene with its GTI - with success. VW will be hoping to replicate the championship-winning successes of 2019 this year.

WATCH: Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI TCR testing at the 'Ring

But even if the Golf 8 GTI is not successful on the track, consumers will still flock to dealerships to order their own. Either way, it's a win-win for VWSA.

At the reveal of the 2020 race car, VWSA was coy about power outputs but did say that the engine produces "about 500hp". That equates to 375kW. The road version of the car produces 180kW/370Nm.

golf 8 gti
Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI. (Newspress)
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