Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 is ready for 2011 Dakar! image

The ultimate off-roader just got better. This is the Race Touareg 3, the latest version of VW’s diesel-powered challenger that has won the legendary Dakar rally for the last two years.

Volkswagen expects a third consecutive triumph in Dakar in 2011 and to achieve its objective requires a new car racing. Thus the Germans get out of the sleeve the new Volkswagen Race Touareg 3, a race car on which shoulders press the glory of his predecessors.

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The Race Touareg 3 features a carbon fibre and Kevlar bodywork which is slightly different than before, due to some wind tunnel testings. The new body provides better improved cooling systems around the roof of the vehicle while minimising disruption to the airflow at high speeds.
At the same time the changes have meant the Touareg has adopted a fresh look with new LED lights, a new grille, window line, rear clamshell and wheels.

The car’s twin-turbocharged 2.5-litre TDI engine has also been optimised. It makes 300 PS and 442 lbs ft of torque and is adopted to cope with the severe altitude changes incurred on the Dakar with the vehicle climbing to heights of over 15,000 feet above sea level. New revisions also mean that it’s lighter on fuel.

The VW Race Touareg 3 is fitted with a high-strength steel spaceframe chassis with a pair of springs and damper. The VW Race Touareg 3 sits on BF Goodrich 235/85 R16 tires which were especially developed for the Dakar rally car.

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Replacing the Race Touareg 2, twice winner in 2009 and 2010 of the gruelling Dakar Rally and the first diesel-powered vehicle ever to win the event, the new Race Touareg 3 promises to be faster and more efficient while retaining the immense strength and durability of the outgoing car.
Wind tunnel testing has led to changes being made to the carbon fibre and Kevlar bodywork with particular attention to improving the cooling systems around the roof of the vehicle while minimising disruption to the airflow at high speeds. At the same time the changes have meant the Touareg has adopted a fresh look with new LED lights, a new grille, window line, rear clamshell and wheels.

Beneath the bodywork the twin-turbocharged 2.5-litre TDI engine has been optimised to allow greater economy while still producing 300 PS and 442 lbs ft of torque. It has also been revised to cope with the severe altitude changes incurred on the Dakar with the vehicle climbing to heights of over 15,000 feet above sea level. The Race Touareg 3 can now adapt to these conditions, meaning the performance doesn’t suffer despite the thinner air encountered at such altitudes.

The 2.5-litre engine channels its drive through three limited slip differentials via a newly upgraded five-speed sequential gearbox and a ZF-Sachs three-plate ceramic clutch.

The result is the ability to accelerate to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds before reaching a top speed of 117 mph in nearly any conditions.
In order to maintain these speeds in extreme off-road conditions the Race Touareg 3 needs to be able to withstand the rigours passing over sand dunes, through deep mud, and across gravel and broken tarmac roads. As a result the Race Touareg 3 is based on a high-strength steel spaceframe chassis with a pair of springs and damper units fitted to every corner in order to protect the vehicle against severe impacts. A set of specially developed BF Goodrich 235/85 R16 tyres provide the grip while a pair of wheels and tyres are carried by the vehicle at all times.

The new Race Touareg 3 has already undergone shakedown tests comprising 10,000 kilometres of simulated special stages ahead of the 2011 Dakar Rally. This equates to twice the length of the Rally itself and a greater distance than Formula 1 cars cover in an entire season.

A world debut alongside chariots and gladiators: Volkswagen presented the Race Touareg 3 to the public in a spectacular show.

In the nearly 2000-year-old amphitheatre in Trier, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the duos who aim to secure the brand’s third consecutive “Dakar” victory in South America from 01 to 16 January 2011 unveiled the 310-hp four-wheel-drive vehicle in front of a crowd of some 1,000 enthusiastic spectators. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) showed the “RT3” in “Dakar” trim for the first time.

“The Dakar Rally is a mystique. Everything’s got to be right to conquer it,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “Technology, drivers, service and logistics – every single aspect is crucial. Anyone aiming to finish the ‘Dakar’ at the very top has to first conquer the rally itself and then beat their rivals. We’ve learned a lot in the past few years. All of these things had to be considered in the development of a new vehicle – I believe we’ve found the ideal mix of revolution and evolution for our Race Touareg 3.”

The Dakar Rally is regarded as the greatest challenge in worldwide motorsport. Volkswagen has revolutionised cross-country rally sport with the Race Touareg 2 and TDI technology – and decided the legendary “Dakar” twice in its favour in the past two years. Volkswagen is the only manufacturer so far to have won the automobile classification of the desert classic with diesel power. For 2011 the goal has been clearly defined: Volkswagen is set on taking the trophy to Wolfsburg for the third consecutive time. For the “Dakar” hat-trick mission the squad leaves nothing to chance: in January 2011 four newly developed Race Touareg 3 vehicles – successor models of the successful model version 2 – will cross the starting ramp in Buenos Aires. Their task: to again victoriously master the endurance test consisting of the legendary Pampas, the dizzying altitudes of the Andes and the gruelling Atacama desert in Argentina and Chile.

Revolution and evolution: updated “Dakar” technology in the “RT3”

To achieve the big aim of clinching the “Dakar” hat-trick, Volkswagen banks on the logical and consistent evolution of the Race Touareg 2 into the model version 3. The specifications issued to the engineers for this project contained three major headlines: improvement of the cooling system, optimized gearbox tuning and more power for driving at high altitudes. In addition, the engineers’ agenda included detailed work to increase the performance capabilities of the two-time Dakar Rally winning Race Touareg 2 even further. The results achieved now reveal a prototype with completely renewed aerodynamics that builds on a proven chassis of its predecessor.

Race Touareg 3: a major aerodynamic step for the “Dakar”

The Race Touareg 3 makes a big aerodynamic step forwards – the biggest one since the model change from the original Race-Touareg to model version two. The main focus during the development of the 310-hp cross-country rally prototype was put on optimising aerodynamics. In addition, the designers adapted the distinctive look of the Touareg II production “sibling” for the “Dakar” version: like the road-going model, the Race Touareg displays its dynamic character traits in its exterior form as well.

The Race Touareg 3’s most obvious change compared with the predecessor model is found in the roof area where the air flow towards the radiator, the damper cooling and the diesel fuel cooling systems has been radically changed. The objective was to improve the chimney effect to remove the heat which accumulates under the carbon fibre-reinforced cladding while optimising air supply in the process.

Intercooling – 100 per cent made by Volkswagen

For the intercooling system the team of Volkswagen Motorsport engineers drew on proven components from the production side of the house. The cooling element of the intercooler – a supplier component in any motorsport discipline – was designed and produced for the Race Touareg 3 by the prototyping department of the Volkswagen brand. Thanks to the experience gained with production vehicles the entire intercooling distance suffers less pressure losses – a gain in efficiency which is directly reflected in improved power output. Due to this and other detailed work the 2.5-litre TDI diesel engine version for the 2011 Dakar Rally now delivers 229 kW (310 hp) – seven kW (ten hp) more than the unit used in the Race Touareg 2.

Race Touareg 3 vs. Race Touareg 2: progress in the sum total of details

A revolution of the exterior form, an evolution under the bonnet – initial tests suggest how well this philosophy is working out for the detailed further development of the Race Touareg 2 into the model version 3. In three-week tests held in Spain and Morocco the new car was tested in a direct comparison with the old model. During the tests around Mahmid with temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius and endurance tests around Erfoud the Race Touareg 3 covered some 10,000 kilometres of simulated special stages without any significant technical problems – this equates to the double “Dakar” distance and exceeds the total number of kilometres driven in the races of an entire Formula 1 season.

Experience is trumps: a proven driver line-up for the 2011 Dakar Rally

At the 2011 Dakar Rally that starts and finishes in Buenos Aires and covers about 4,500 kilometres of special stages through Argentina and Chile (01 –16 January 2011) Volkswagen will rely on four proven driver/co-driver duos. The 2010 “Dakar” winners, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), will pilot one of the four Race Touareg 3 as will Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), the 2010 “Dakar” runners-up, Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), the 2009 “Dakar” winners, and their team colleagues Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), who were just barely beaten in that event.