Herbie Goes Bananas: VW unveils extreme Beetle
Those who think the current Beetle errs slightly on the feminine side may want to take a look at the 560bhp Global Rallycross Championship car that VW has just wowed crowds with at the Chicago auto show.
Set for its first official outing at the Summer X-Games in Austin, Texas, the humble Bug has been heavily tuned by Andretti Autosport to produce a monster amount of horsepower and handle the gruelling rally-style stages.
The Global Rallycross series is already frequented by big names such as Ken Block in his high-performance Ford Fiesta, motocross rider Travis Pastrana and BMX champion Dave Mirra, and sees tuned cars tackle jumps, obstacles and loose surfaces in a man-made racing arena.
Andretti Autosport, run by ex-F1 and IndyCar racer Michael Andretti, is the outfit responsible for the race-ready appearance and high-performance underpinnings of the Beetle, while Tanner Foust (famous for his truck jumping on American Top Gear) and the aptly named Scott Speed will race the thing.
Unfortunately, VW hasn't released exact engine specifics but we do know the Volkswagen Polo R Rallycross machine that was produced by the German marque for an X-Games event last year produced 550bhp, 849Nm and could hit 60mph from a standstill in around two seconds.
"Red Bull Global Rallycross is the perfect form of motor sports for a youthful, exuberant, and growing brand in the U.S. market," said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America.
"We're excited to partner with Andretti Autosport, one of the great names in American motor sports, and delighted that we will be running the iconic Beetle in the series."