Baja 1000, Los Angeles Auto Show

VW will race the Atlas Cross Sport in the Baja 1000


In an effort to buoy the SUV credentials of its new Atlas Cross Sport, Volkswagen announced Wednesday that it has built a prototype race truck dubbed the Cross Sport R, with the intention of competing with it in the 2020 running of the Baja 1000. 

The prototype was developed with help from both VW’s own rallycross driver, Tanner Foust, and Baja veteran Rhys Millen. The truck will be entered in Baja Class 7, which VW says is a first for four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The Atlas Cross Sport you can buy in a dealership is offered with both a 2.0-liter turbo-4 producing 238 horsepower and a 276-hp 3.6-liter V-6. It’s a mid-size, two-row crossover that can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the V-6 and an available tow package.

VW’s racer retains the displacement of its production 4-cylinder engine, but that’s where the similarities between the road car and race truck end. Volkswagen says the engine can produce 300 hp per liter, but has been tuned to produce “just” 480 for the sake of reliability.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

I know what this combination of engine and drivetrain is capable of,” Foust said at the truck’s unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “I’m really excited to see this bit of Beetle DNA live on in the Atlas Cross Sport R and am itching to get behind the wheel.”

Details were otherwise light, but from the provided photos we can tell that the Atlas Cross Sport R shares no bodywork with the production car, and it also rides on big, knobby all-terrain tires. Its suspension offers a lot more travel and the truck appears to have about three or four times the road car’s ground clearance.

Team drivers and engineers will have plenty of time to fine-tune the Atlas Cross Sport R before the running of the next Baja 1000, which kicks off in November 2020.

For more L.A. Auto Show coverage, head to our dedicated hub.



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Baja 1000

2021 Ford Bronco previewed by Bronco R race prototype, based on Ranger T6 platform


Ford’s taking the new Bronco SUV racing in the desert.

Set to debut this spring, the 2021 Ford Bronco was previewed Monday by the Bronco R race prototype in the desert outside Las Vegas.

While the Bronco R was developed by the Ford Performance team, it previews the production Bronco due soon. The hoodline, roofline, and squared-off stance with straight angles reveal the shape of the 2021 Bronco, which is thankfully inspired by the first-gen Bronco.

Ford Bronco R race prototype

A Ford spokesperson told Motor Authority the Bronco (and Bronco R) is the first vehicle to ride on the newly evolved T6 platform architecture making it a body-on-frame SUV like the Jeep Wrangler. It’s an evolution of today’s T6 platform that underpins the Everest SUV (not sold in the U.S.) and Ranger pickup truck with a five-link rear suspension setup.

Ford wouldn’t discuss what’s powering the Bronco R, but said its twin-turbo engine is “representative of what the production Bronco will offer.” Ford builds 2.7- and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6s, both of which are offered in the F-150. The 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 is expected to power the Bronco, though a hotter Raptor model could potentially have the 3.5-liter stuffed under the hood some day.

 

Ford Bronco R race prototype

Ford Bronco R race prototype

The Bronco R’s grille features the word “Bronco” spelled out in big, bold, capital letters (a feature likely to make the production model).

Designed to be race-ready, the Bronco R has composite body panels, a clamshell hood, extra wide stance for stability, and a roll cage.

Ford Bronco R race prototype

Ford Bronco R race prototype

Beefed up independent front suspension features 14 inches of travel with the production Bronco’s five-link independent rear suspension, which has 18 inches of travel (likely not appearing on the production version). Custom Fox shocks handle all that jouncing, and by the looks of them, are built for massive punishment and heat management. All four corners have 17-inch beadlock-capable aluminum wheels with 37-inch BFGoodrich tires stuffed under the fenders. To help see in the dark, the Bronco R is equipped with 15 Rigid LED light bars because 14 just won’t do.

Ford Bronco R race prototype

Ford Bronco R race prototype

Inside, the gutted interior features three lightweight off-road racing shell seats from Recaro. The simple instrument panel houses a MoTeC data acquisition system for real-time monitoring and measurement of the prototype’s performance.

Ford Bronco R race prototype

Ford Bronco R race prototype

The Bronco R race prototype’s exterior features a livery that celebrates Rod Hall and Larry Minor’s 1969 Baja 1000-winning Bronco design with red, white, and black with a splash of blue.

The Bronco R race prototype is headed to the Baja peninsula to run the Baja 1000 that starts Nov. 22.



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