Volkswagen started the anniversary year of the Golf in a very sporty and spectacular way at the Ice Race in Zell am See (Austria). The new Golf, which will be launched in time for its 50th birthday this year, had its public premiere at the traditional motorsport event on ice and snow. Volkswagen also provided a first impression of its sportiest model: the Golf R – camouflaged, with all-wheel drive and unmistakably R. The future flagship Golf model will celebrate its world premiere in mid-2024.
The traditional Ice Race was the ideal place to celebrate the past, present and future of the sporty Golf variants. Spectacular, a bit wild, but totally down-to-earth, the track on ice and snow became the big stage. Racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck and six-time World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson showcased various Volkswagen vehicles in true style by driving at the limits. The cars included the Golf I GTI, which celebrated its premiere in 1975, and the Golf IV R32 from 2002, the forerunner of all performance variants bearing the R brand logo. Volkswagen also presented other historic exhibition vehicles: a rally version of the Golf I GTI and two rally versions of the Golf II. The new Golf was on display in Zell am See in four variants – not only as an exhibit, but also in action. Alongside the Golf R, the Golf GTI01, Golf eHybrid01 and Golf GTE01 completed the line-up.
The Ice Race can look back on a long history that started with skijouring, a daring leisure activity pursued by Nordic and Alpine farmers who let horses pull them over the ice on skis. Skijouring became a sport, but also bolder and more spectacular: motorbikes and cars replaced the horses. In 1937, a course for this was prepared for the first time in Zell am See; the event then took place again from 1952 and became a regular motorsport spectacle until 1974. In its current form, the Ice Race is already a second revival: it was held again in 2019 for the first time since 1974. In 2024, the fourth edition of the contemporary Ice Race presented not only traditional skijouring, but also spectacular racing cars and production vehicles on ice and snow.
Volkswagen R is Volkswagen’s premium performance brand and is responsible for the sportiest vehicles that complement the product range. Customers currently have a choice of five performance-boosted and enhanced production vehicles – from the extremely dynamic Golf R02 to the brand’s top model, the Touareg R eHybrid03. With more than 35,000 vehicles produced, 2023 was a record year for the Volkswagen R. A total of more than 300,000 R models have been delivered since 2002. The Volkswagen R is now realigning itself for the future. Based on the four pillars – performance, design, innovation and quality – the portfolio will gradually see a shift to all-electric R models by 2030.