New BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 rally car features the latest in motorsport technology
The BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 rally car is a new beginning for national rally competition. This is a vehicle that pushes the boundaries of what has been done previously and, instead of evolving the concept of what a rally car should be, rewrites the rules from the ground up.
Never before has a Volkswagen rally car been built in this way in South Africa, utilising some of the most advanced technologies available internationally.
While the accepted method of building competition cars has, until now, consisted of deconstructing an existing vehicle, welding in roll cages and other components, and then making it work according to the rules, this thinking has undergone a radical change with the new BP Volkswagen Polo S2000.
The first time the new BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 rally car even begins to resemble its locally-built road-going counterpart is close to the final stages of the production process. This new generation competition vehicle is built, quite literally, from the ground up using the same components as the Volkswagen Polos found on South African roads. Each component is however tweaked and modified as required at each stage in the production process to create a purposeful and task-focused rally competitor.
Rewriting the old rules has required a shift in thinking about how a rally car should be constructed – and how the process should work. The upshot has been the creation of a vehicle which follows a strict production line process to minimise the effort expended at each step, while maximising consistency and quality and speeding up the process of building Volkswagen Polo rally cars.
Each component has been extensively tested and factored into this production process. This ensures that it not only meets the exacting requirements of competition at the highest levels, but also that it is an essential part of the car. Anything surplus to the process – and to competition – has been discarded in the search of building the ultimate rally machine.
The latest generation of BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 is assembled piece by piece, starting from the floor. It is then welded and bolted together to create the finished product. Under the skin is a naturally aspirated 2.0 litre, four-cylinder engine. The 97kg aluminium block engine drives all four wheels, as per the S2000 regulations, and the Volkswagen Polo S2000 makes use of the Sadev 4/45 gearbox.
In the BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 the rally engine produces 200 kW and has a maximum torque figure of 250 Nm (at 7 200 rpm). Drive to the wheels is via the six-speed sequential gearbox fitted with Powershift.
The Powershift module is set to make the Volkswagen Polo S2000 capture the imagination of rally fans as its gear-change “gun-shot” will ensure it has one of the most unique sounds on the national rally scene.
Even the interior electronics of the new Volkswagen Polo S2000 have changed completely by comparison to the vehicle it replaces. The new EFI systems are mated to 2D-supplied new generation electronics and a power module which manages all of the electric current flow in the car. The wiring harnesses in the cars are constructed to aircraft specification and tolerances within the construction process are down to 1mm throughout.
All of these changes mean that the new BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 rally car is not an evolution of its predecessor, the BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000. It is a new beginning making use of the latest techniques and race technologies to continue the legacy started by the original.
These are big shoes to fill for the Volkswagen Polo S2000 as the Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 produced some stunning results for the BP Volkswagen rally team.
Between Hergen Fekken and his former teammate Jan Habig, the pair rallied the BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 to 24 consecutive rally finishes each from 2005 to 2009. Twenty-eight of these 48 rallies were victories for the team.
In the 2010 and 2011 rally seasons, Enzo Kuun finished seven of the eight events each year and won the championship in the 2010 season.
These are statistics that the new Volkswagen Polo S2000 is aiming to match, and later exceed, as it tackles the South African national rally championship in search of stage, rally and championship titles.