Tanner Foust is easily one the most popular personalities in motorsports today. Between hosing Top Gear USA and contending in Rally Cross in both America and in Europe the man has a pretty full plate, which is a big part of the reason why he stepped away from drifting a few years ago to focus on those things. Well, it looks like Tanner has missed drifting so much (winning two Formula Drift championships tends to do that) that he is making a return to the sport this season. He will still continue his Rally Cross and Top Gear hosting duties so for now he will only run a partial season with the rumors suggesting he will drive at the Long Beach, Road Atlanta, and Irwindale rounds of Formula Drift this year.
As far as what he is driving, Wrecked Magazine says it will be a 900hp Volkswagen Passat. Yes, a Passat! While it would be expected that Tanner would campaign a VW since they are a major sponsor and platform provider of his Rally Cross program, but a Passat? Well, for those confused I offer a few theories for this choice. First, to those drift purists who may be asking “Isn’t the Passat front wheel drive?” the answer is “yes and no”. In America, the Passat is currently only offered in front wheel drive. However, in Europe the Passat can be had with all wheel drive, making it legal for RWD conversion and competition in Formula Drift. For those asking “Why not the Golf R then? That car is AWD”. Again you would be correct bur the AWD Golf R is a 2016 model car so chances are VW may not be ready to put marketing dollars behind it and lets be honest, marketing dollars are what drive motorsport programs such as these.
Either way I am glad to see Tanner return to drifting and now we all have one more big reason to look forward to Formula Drift this year! For the official video announcement of Tanner Foust’s return scroll below.
Yesterday I took a drive down to San Pedro to check out the scene of the next round of Red Bull Globalrally cross happening this weekend (you can watch live on tv!). The rumor was that Tanner Foust’s new VW Beetle was going to make its debut at this event so my real motive for making the trip was to check out his new car in person. I got much more than I bargained for. It turned out that the event organizers were doing media ride alongs and I was lucky enough to sit shotgun with Tanner Foust as he took to the course in his brand new car.
I will admit I was a bit nervous. However, I figured this was a new car, its a media ride along, he will probably take it easy on me. I was completely wrong. Although to be fair my first indicator should have been the flagger literally warning me that Tanner was about to melt my face off. You will see what I mean when you watch the incredibly bouncy cellphone video I shot of my experience below. If its too crazy then I apologize. I was too busy trying to not pass out to really put deep thought and consideration to my shot composition.
November is one of my favorite months and for good reason. There is just so much to look forward to on the 11th month of the year: Some of the best football games all year, Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday season, and the LA Auto Show. The last item on that list should be particularly exciting this year as the LA Auto Show has announced that they are expecting 25 world debuts at the show this year from the likes of Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Toyota, Volvo, and Volkswagen. That is a pretty long list, no? What will all those brands debut? Well we don’t officially know yet but if history is an indicator I am sure we will find out about most of the debuts from embargo breakers weeks before the show starts.
However, we are still quite a ways from that as well so how about we play a nice healthy game of speculation? I am going to list off what I think (or want) each brand on that list is going to debut in LA this year. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
Production version of the new NSX (its time Acura, its time…)
Production ready e-Tron cars, S3, that cool new R8 with the laser headlights
A concept for the Z4 successor, M4 convertible, a new edition to the electric “i” cars (i5, i7)
We will finally get a production version of the ME Four-Twelve (wishful thinking)
I dunno a truck or somethin’?
The official successor to the Genesis coupe
Production RC and RC-F coupes
New Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed2 (because we want it), Mazdaspeed6-look they just need to “Mazdaspeed” everything and give it to us. I want a Mazdaspeed stroller! A Mazdaspeed coffee maker! Oh, they will also probably show off the new MX-5…and Mazdaspeed it!
The new AMG GT Coupe with out that funny looking neon zebra camouflage all over it…that stuff is ugly..
The next tC release series, production ready TRD-supercharged FR-S
The next Camry in its new “super beige” color, A somewhat less-concept FT-1 coupe
A consumer version of the semi trucks that Jean Claude Van-Damme did splits on in that crazy viral video
Its been a while but Wheel Wednesday is back and this week I am showing off a wheel that was specifically designed to make any VW-phile swoon. Its from Work Wheels new “Seeker” line and its called the CX. It has what I can only describe as a “super mesh” design that looks perfect under the arches of just about any generation VW Golf but would likely look just as good on a Jetta or Passat. What’s life without experimentation? The CX is a two-piece wheel and customers can get custom offsets in 1mm increments. A step lip barrel is available as an option as well for those who like it spicy! All in all the CX is a nice pair of euro shoes for your VW and worth of a Wheel Wednesday mention. If you want a set hit up your local Work Wheels dealer and they should be able to hook you up!
A few days ago Tanner Foust dropped a bombshell of an announcement when he revealed that he would be leaving his long time home at Ford and Olsbergs MSE for Volkswagen and Andretti Autosport. We knew that he will eventually drive a GRC prepped Volkswagen Beetle (and a Polo in the meantime), and that Rockstar Energy Drink would be coming with him as his main sponsor. However, what we didn’t know is why he even left winning combination of Ford and Olsbergs MSE in the first place. Well leave it up to none other than my pal Bill Wood to get Tanner on the phone and hash out the details. I won’t spoil it for you here but it seems like at least part of the reason why Tanner made the move is that his new situation allows him a bit more freedom in how the team will be run and handling the relationships with his sponsors and other partners.
To hear it straight from the man himself head over to ByBillWood.com (click the red text) and have a listen. Its a great way to spend 16 minutes!
In the “Whoaaa” news of the day, Tanner Foust just announced on his Instagram account that for the 2014 Global Rally Cross season he has joined up with Andretti Autosport (yes THAT Andretti) and will campaign a 2014 Volkswagen Beetle! What a crazy change right?! We will definitely miss seeing Tanner in the Ford Fiesta GRC car but its interesting to see Volkswagen get involved in the series. Joining Tanner at Andretti Autosport will be former F1 driver Scott Speed who will also pilot a VW Beetle. Despite leaving Ford, Tanner will still be backed by Rockstar Energy Drink while his teammate Scott will rock a 7-Up livery on his Beetle.
It should also be noted that the team will not start the season in the new Beetle GRC cars; rather they will start in a pair of WRC Spec Polo R’s (the same type that won the WRC championship) for the first part of the season. The new Beetles will make their debut at the Summer X Games (for maximum exposure) at Austin, Texas later this year. Will Volkswagen be able to hold their own against the might of Ford? It will be fun to find out! For more pics just click on any of the thumbnails in this post and scroll below for the official press release from Volkswagen.
VOLKSWAGEN ENTERS RALLYCROSS WITH THE BEETLE AND ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT
Feb 6, 2014
The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team will run a 560-plus-horsepower, all-wheel-drive GRC Beetle in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series
Team will compete initially with European rallycross-prepared Polo
Drivers will be 2011 and 2012 GRC champion Tanner Foust and ex-F1 and NASCAR star Scott Speed
Definitive GRC Beetle will debut at the Summer X Games in Austin, TX
Chicago, IL — Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Andretti Sports Marketing today announced the details of its 2014 rallycross program at the Chicago Auto Show. Volkswagen will partner with Andretti Autosport to form the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, running two cars in the series for drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.
The team will initially compete this season with modified Polo rally cars, built on the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship for drivers and manufacturers, and will switch during the season to the fearsome GRC Beetle. This all-wheel-drive rallycross car is the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle and will feature more than 560 horsepower from its turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine.
Rallycross is the fastest growing form of motorsports in the U.S., attracting big crowds at venues across the country as well as live TV coverage. Cars are pitted against each other and the clock in a series of heats on a closed course that’s usually a mixture of dirt and pavement, with a 70-foot jump. The action is fast, it’s intense, and is hugely appealing to a crossover audience of auto and live action sports fans.
“Red Bull Global Rallycross is the perfect form of motor sports for a youthful, exuberant, and growing brand in the U.S. market,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We’re excited to partner with Andretti Autosport, one of the great names in American motor sports, and delighted that we will be running the iconic Beetle in the series.”
Michael Andretti, CEO of Andretti Autosport, added: “I’m thrilled to be entering the series, and especially happy about teaming with Volkswagen. We are excited about our driver lineup of Tanner [Foust] and Scott [Speed]; I believe we have the best drivers in the series and will be a top contender.”
Tanner Foust, GRC champion in 2011 and 2012 and runner-up in 2013, will drive the Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle. Foust is also widely recognized for hosting the U.S. version of Top Gear , for his rally driving skills, and for his stunt driving—he holds records for distance jumping and looping the loop in a car.
Scott Speed will be racing the 7UP entry for the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. As well as being a standout in the 2013 GRC Series, winning two races in and finishing fifth overall, Speed has competed at the very pinnacle of motorsports, driving Formula 1 for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007. He also competed in NASCAR between 2008 and 2013.
The Red Bull Global Rallycross series opens in May. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team will attend with a pair of Polo cars driven by Foust and Speed. The definitive GRC Beetle will appear at the X Games in June in Austin, TX.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc. Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state -of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, and Touareg vehicles through approximately 640 independent U.S. dealers.
About Andretti Autosport Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series. Andretti Autosport also campaigns multiple cars in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda championships. In 2013 the team announced intent to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross starting in 2014. The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013), one USF2000 championship (2010) and has won the Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007). For more information, please visit AndrettiAutosport.com.
Are you in love with EG and EK Honda Civics? Do you drool over just about any generation of VW Golf? Then you might just be about that “Hatch Life“. If so then Pac Rim’s GARAGETUNED brand has a cell phone case that’s perfect for you. The best part is that its available for iPhone 4/4s/5 AND Samsung Galaxy S3 & S4 so you’re covered on both iOS and Android fronts!
Volkswagen is throwing their hat into the rally game for 2013. Today they announced that their multi-surface weapon of choice will be the new Polo R. Volkswagen will drop a 300HP 1.6 liter engine into the the all-wheel-drive Polo R. Now that they have officially put the world on notice and have the specs of their car sorted out all they need is a driver to make it all worthwhile. Although at this point in the game it is too early for them to make any announcements but you can be sure they are on the look out for talent.
In our last Super Bowl XLV commercial post we take a look at the Volkswagen ads. By now you’ve probably heard plenty about both of them but just in case you haven’t check them out below.
Volkswagen commercial 1: Black Beetle
In this spot Volkswagen takes a very literal approach to the upcoming new Beetle.
What do I think? FRESH
Why? It is hard to find something more awesome than an insect drifting through the forrest!
Volkswagen commercial 2: The Force
If you haven’t seen this commercial yet then you haven’t been in the country for the last week or so because it has been everywhere! In this spot a mini Darth Vader is struggling to develop his force powers. Just when he feels all hope is lost he has one more encounter that reassures the fact that the force is strong in him..
What do I think? FRESH x2
Why? This spot covers all the bases. Women think it’s cute, men think it’s hilarious, and Star Wars nerds think it’s epic. It is all win! Plus the kid’s performance is on point! Volkswagen managed to make an impression on millions of people without going for a massive big budget production for this commercial. I mean that literally too. This commercial already has over 18 million views on YouTube! 18 million! That isn’t even counting the millions of people who watched it on television Super Bowl Sunday. Other OEM’s should be taking notes!
This is the latest for the Golf VI GTi from German tuner JE Design. They actually created a full tuning program but the part that sticks out to me is the aero package they developed. It reminds me a lot of the special concept golf that Volkswagen built with the rear-mounted W12 engine!