Volkswagen marked the beginning of the Golf’s 50th-anniversary year in a thrilling and sporty manner at the Ice Race in Zell am See, Austria. The eagerly anticipated new Golf, set for release on its milestone birthday this year. Further, made its public debut at the renowned motorsport event on ice and snow. Additionally, Volkswagen provided a sneak peek at its sportiest model, the Golf R, complete with camouflage, all-wheel drive, and the unmistakable R signature. The world premiere of the flagship Golf model is scheduled for mid-2024.
Ice Race Showcases Golf’s Past, Present, and Future
The traditional Ice Race served as an ideal setting to celebrate the rich heritage and future prospects of the sporty Golf variants. The icy track, both spectacular and down-to-earth, became the grand stage for this celebration. Racing icons Hans-Joachim Stuck and Johan Kristoffersson showcased various Volkswagen vehicles, including the iconic Golf I GTI from 1975 and the Golf IV R32 from 2002, a precursor to all R-branded performance variants. Historic exhibition vehicles such as a rally version of the Golf I GTI and two rally versions of the Golf II also graced the event.
Volkswagen R: Where Past Meets Future
Reinhold Ivenz, Head of Volkswagen R, stated, “Volkswagen R is Volkswagen’s premium performance brand. That represents sportiness and dynamic performance for more than 20 years. Here at the Ice Race, the past meets the future. We are eagarly waiting for the Golf R, still disguised here, to celebrate its premiere this summer.”
New Golf Takes Center Stage along with Golf R
The new Golf, featured in four variants, not only stood as an exhibit but also demonstrated its prowess in action. Alongside the Golf R, the Golf GTI01, Golf eHybrid01, and Golf GTE01 completed the impressive lineup.
Racing Legends Share Their Thrills
Hans-Joachim Stuck, a two-time Le Mans winner and motorsport veteran, commented, “The Ice Race is a real spectacle. Other drivers normally put the snow chains in such conditions, but for us racing drivers, this is when the fun really starts.” Johan Kristoffersson, a five-time World Rallycross Champion with Volkswagen, shared his excitement. “It was great fun to sit in the brand-new Golf for the first time. Though the Golf R has not yet been revealed, its a true sports car under the camouflage that fans of the R brand are looking forward to.”
A Glimpse into the Ice Race’s History
The Ice Race has a storied history, originating with skijouring and evolving into a motorsport spectacle. First established in Zell am See in 1937, the event gained popularity and became a regular occurrence until 1974. Its modern revival in 2019 has since become a highlight. Further, featuring not only traditional skijouring but also showcasing spectacular racing cars and production vehicles on ice and snow.
Volkswagen R: A Record-Breaking Year and Future Vision
Volkswagen R, the premium performance brand, had a record-breaking year in 2023. Further, producing over 35,000 vehicles and delivering a total of more than 300,000 R models since 2002. The brand is now gearing up for the future, aligning its portfolio with the pillars of performance, design, innovation, and quality, gradually transitioning to all-electric R models by 2030.