The Volkswagen Beetle isn’t just for hippies.
VW will join the Red Bull Global Rallycross series with a pair of race-prepped Beetles campaigned by Andretti Autosport. The German automaker announced its plans at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, while the car itself will make its race debut at the Summer X Games in Austion, Texas later this year.
The GRC Beetle will have all-wheel drive and a souped-up TSI turbocharged engine producing 560 horsepower. In its press release, Volkswagen describes the car as “fearsome”, probably the only time that word could be aptly applied to a Beetle.
The driver lineup will be just as impressive. A Rockstar Energy-sponsored car will be driven by Global Rallycross champion and Top Gear U.S.A. host Tanner Foust, while a second, 7Up-sponsored car will be piloted by former Formula One and NASCAR driver Scott Speed.
Rallycross is a combination race and stunt show, with cars facing off on a course that combines pavement and dirt driving. To make things more interesting, there’s also a 70-foot jump.
Each race consists of 10 cars, and since the tracks are fairly small, they’re door handles are practically touching.
Like the Beetle, the other GRC cars will look familiar to fans of more traditional rallying, with their small turbocharged engines and all-wheel drive. The VWs will face off against Ford Fiestas, Dodge Darts, and other compact cars.
The 2014 Global Rallycross season begins in May, but Foust and Speed will race in VW Polo hatchbacks until the Beetle’s debut at the Summer X Games in June.