Unveiling its new Race Touareg TDI, VW has the first turbo-diesel Trophy Truck in the history of the off-road SCORE series.
The Race Touareg TDI Trophy Truck that will run in the 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race. It will compete in the SCORE Trophy Truck class, powered by a 5.5 liter V12 clean-diesel engine that produces 550hp and 625 lb-ft of torque.
Staying true to the off-road prowess that the Touareg is best known for, the purpose-built Race Touareg TDI Trophy Truck takes the Touareg’s off-road tenacity to a new level. With double A-Arm front suspension that allows 25” of wheel travel, and a four-link rear suspension that allows 30” of wheel travel, combined with Fox Racing Shocks, Eibach springs and BFGoodrich Baja KRT 37x13.5x17 off-road tires, the Race Touareg should have little difficulty covering the 634 mile Baja 1000 course.
The Race Touareg TDI Trophy Truck Body was designed by the Volkswagen Design Center located in Santa Monica, California. Most of the design work was carried out by Alex Earle, who also worked on VW’s revolutionary three-wheeled GX3 concept.
Alex explained how the Trophy Truck series has no particular regulations as far as bodywork is concerned, so his priority was to cover the huge BFG tires ad provide sufficient clearance for the enormous suspension travel, while still making it recognizable as a VW Touareg.
The body is constructed from glass fiber for weight reduction. However, the more expensive carbon fiber was rejected since the trucks receive so much abuse they expect to replace the panels frequently during each event. Furthermore, the chassis of the truck also carries sponsor logos so they will continue to be seen even if the bodywork falls off.
One of the team’s requirements was up to 10 spotlights for night use. You can see six of these mounted above the cabin on a quick release bar. Two pins hold the bar in place and a central spring helps with vibration. An additional four lights are placed behind the VW grille. These are pivoted to swing up during the daytime, helping with airflow and reducing the chance of damage. At night, the grille is removed and the lights swing down for use.
Although the bodywork wasn’t submitted to any wind tunnel testing, the drivers have reported an increase in stability compared to early trials when they drive the cars without the panels. They also complained that the roof lights acted like a air brake, necessitating their removal during the day.
The trophy trucks were designed and built in North America, but the V12 engines, derived from Audi’s dominant Le Mans racers, were detuned by the factory and shipped over from Germany. The incredible 625 lb-ft of torque means the Touareg will be one of the few trophy trucks with a paddle shifted manual transmission, rather than the more conventional auto transmission used by most teams.
The Red Bull Baja Race Touareg TDI will be driven by motorsport veterans Mark Miller and Ryan Arciero on the Baja 1000.
Mark Miller has been selectively dominating off-road racing for over 20 years. His unprecedented driving skills were recognized by VW motorsport and in 2005 Mark made a full-time commitment as a factory works driver for the Volkswagen Motorsports team based in Hanover, Germany.
Miller is one of the few Americans to start the Dakar Rally and is regarded as multi-talented. In 1979, he competed in the SCORE Off-road Challenge for the first time on a motorcycle, was successful in a NASCAR truck series, and scored several wins in the Trophy Truck class of the famous Baja 1000 and Baja 500 rallies.
Growing up in the racing world, Ryan Arciero has experienced first-hand what victory feels like. Maintaining the legacy of his legendary racing family Ryan is determined to continue 50 years plus of motorsport success that the Arciero family has worked so hard to achieve. Whether Ryan is racing a 1000 mile off-road race or turning laps on the pavement, the skills and experience he gained have produced one of the most diverse drivers and successful racing resumes. As a Volkswagen factory driver, Ryan was instrumental in the inaugural season of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series, where he coached and mentored a group of thirty up-and-coming young drivers on what it takes to succeed in the world of professional motorsport.
Willie Valdez Jr will be Mark Miller’s navigator, and Benny Metcalf Jr will be Ryan Arciero’s navigator in the Tecate Score Baja 1000. Both Valdez Jr and Metcalf Jr have amassed multiple wins in various off-road racing classes both in the United States and Mexico.
The Volkswagen-Red Bull Baja Race Touareg TDI is sponsored by Volkswagen of America, Red Bull, BFGoodrich Tires, Dow Automotive, Oakley, KMC Wheels and Fox Shocks.