· Posted by CCW
The 40th birthday of the Golf GTI this year awakes at least for the old veteran Motorsport fans a lot of great memories. Shortly after its introduction to the market in 1976, the Wolfsburger beast ventured the first attempts on a race-oriented terrain. A good choice, because the Golf GTI sets a new benchmark in terms of the early fame of Volkswagen in the disciplines circuit and rally.
The Junior Cup: hot races, thrilling duels
For six years the GTI was the figurehead for the brand-own named race series. The races took place 10 times a year in the supporting program of high-quality circuit events and gave the audience high-class, exciting and dramatic duels. The uniform white lacquer turned into a colourful one in the second Cup-year. German pilots such as Walter Struckmann, who managed to win all ten GTI Cup races in a row in 1978, or Heinz Friedrich Peil and Alfons Hohenester, who both were advancing into the higher-ranking championship, have also performed record-breaking effort. Another record was taken by Berthold Bermel, who managed to participate unbelievable 13 years in different VW Brand Cups
Also successful in Rally-Racing
Also in rallying, the Golf GTI became a fixed size, which was to be beat. Just one year after the first appearances of the Golf GTI in the Rally sport the Hamburg-born Jochi Kleint won the popular Rally Cross Championship. Volkswagen Motorsport in Hanover has continuously developed the GTI with the result that the Bavarian team Alfons Stock / Paul Schmuck 1981 won the Int. German Rally Championship with their green “Rheila-Golf” (nickname “Frog”). The team Erwin Weber / Manfred Hiemer managed to achieve the same in a factory golf GTI almost ten years later. In the meantime, the best success of the Golf GTI ever was in 1986 – the win of the World Rally Championship for series-close cars by the Swedish Kenneth Eriksson and his German co-driver Peter Diekmann
GTI as a fixed size at the 24 hour race
With numerous other titles and valuable single victories, the Golf GTI has now been gliding all along for 40 years and is still setting standards in the touring car class. Hardly any championship takes place without a Golf GTI participation and even in the famous long-distance classic, the 24 hours at the Nürburgring, the GTI has proven its reliability with numerous group events and nearly 50 classifications. The Wolfsburg GTI is listed the fourth place in the everlasting brand list of this race since 1970.
The latest and current model of the successful Golf GTI family is the anniversary model “Club sport”. The turbo direct injection engine delivers 265 HP – making it the most powerful GTI series ever. At the push of a button, the power can be increased up to almost 300 HP for ten seconds thanks to a boost function. Remember: The first Golf GTI from 1976 had just 110 HP – As time goes bye …