Volkswagen will field three natural gas-powered Scirocco race cars in next month’s legendary Nürburgring 24-hour endurance event competitors have dubbed ‘Green Hell’.
The Volkswagen Scirocco GT24-CNG coupés are all fitted with a 2.0-litre TSI engine, powered by compressed natural gas. The engines develop 243kW, but reduces CO2 emissions by 80 per cent as compared to a conventional petrol-powered engine.
The cars will be driven by a mix of experienced racers and upcoming young drivers including Jimmy Johansson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Nicki Thim (DK) and touring car ace Peter Terting (D) who steered a pioneering gas-powered Scirocco GT24-CNG to victory in the alternative powertrains category last year.
The second car comprises experienced endurance racers from a variety of international disciplines. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), who finished second in Volkswagen’s 1-2-3 at this year’s Dakar Rally, is joined by former DTM driver Vanina Ickx (B), endurance racing legend Dieter Depping (D) and two-time winner of the Nürburgring 24-hour, Klaus Niedzwiedz (D).
Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board for Technical Development and Prof Dr Stefan Gies, Head of Chassis Development for Volkswagen are paired with journalists Bernd Ostmann (D) and Peter Wyss (CH) in the third Scirocco.
The third vehicle is fitted with an innovative active electro-hydraulic differential in place of the conventional system, which is fitted to the other two cars. The electronically controlled system will undergo the ultimate test of endurance, and is designed to combine the functionality of the conventional system with improved handling characteristics and a reduction in understeer.
Further developments of the 2009-spec cars include a larger braking system to reduce maintenance intervals during the gruelling 24-hours, and the integration of additional lights in the front bumper to improve nighttime visibility.
Early testing has seen impressive lap times on the Nordschleife circuit with Nicki Thim posting a lap record for a front-wheel drive vehicle with a time of 8m 47.337s during the latest round of the preparation races.
As final preparations are made for this year’s event, Volkswagen Motorsport will continue to extensively test the three Scirocco GT24-CNG racers, including contesting one final Endurance Championship race on the Nürburgring at the end of this month.
The Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race will take place from May 12 to 16.