The Scirocco GT24-CNG will return to Germany’s ‘Green Hell’ next month as Volkswagen fields three natural gas-powered racers in the legendary Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race over the weekend 12-16 May.
All three Scirocco GT24-CNG coupés are fitted with a 2.0-litre TSI engine powered by natural gas, reducing CO2 emissions by 80 per cent over a conventional petrol engine. The unit is a development of the powerplant that secured class victory last year and sees the power output increased to 330 PS.
As in previous years, Volkswagen will draw on the expertise of experienced racers as well as fielding several promising and exciting young drivers. Last year, Jimmy Johansson (S), Florian Gruber (D) and Nicki Thim (DK) competed in a conventional petrol-powered Scirocco GT24 and finished as the top-placed Volkswagen team in 15th and clinched the third consecutive class win for Volkswagen. This year they are joined by touring car ace Peter Terting (D) who steered a pioneering gas-powered Scirocco GT24-CNG to victory in the alternative powertrains category last year.
The second car comprises experienced endurance racers from a variety of international disciplines. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), who finished 2nd in Volkswagen’s 1-2-3 at this year’s Dakar Rally, is joined by former DTM driver Vanina Ickx (B), endurance racing legend Dieter Depping (D) and two-time winner of the Nürburgring 24-hour, Klaus Niedzwiedz (D).
Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board for Technical Development and Prof Dr Stefan Gies, Head of Chassis Development for Volkswagen are paired with journalists Bernd Ostmann (D) and Peter Wyss (CH) in the final Scirocco.
This racer features several technological developments including an innovative active electro-hydraulic differential in place of the conventional system which is fitted to the other two cars. The electronically controlled system will undergo the ultimate test of endurance, and is designed to combine the functionality of the conventional system with improved handling characteristics and a reduction in understeer.
Further developments of the 2009-spec cars include a larger braking system to reduce maintenance intervals during the gruelling 24-hours, and the integration of two further light units into the front bumper to improve visibility during the hours of darkness.
Early signs for the three teams are promising with Nicki Thim posting a lap record on the Nordschleife circuit for a front-wheel drive vehicle in a time of 8m 47.337s during the latest of the preparation races.
As final preparations are made for this year’s 24-hour race, Volkswagen Motorsport will continue to extensively test the three Scirocco GT24-CNG racers, including contesting one final Endurance Championship race on the Nürburgring at the end of this month.