Volkswagen Race Touareq, a la Red Bull, to debut in Baja 500

June 1, 2007

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The legendary Baja 500  race held on the mystical Baja peninsula in California in June is one of the world’s toughest off road races, and will provide the perfect forum for the demonstration of the power and performance of Volkswagen’s TDI technology with the compact agility of the diesel powered
Race Touaregs sure to gain an advantage in terms of manoeuvreability against the 800 horsepowered SCORE trophy trucks it will be competing with, which have snatched victory in 10 out of 13 competitions held since 1994. The Touareg will also be competing with two wheeled vehicles. The competition Volkswagens are being sponsored by Red Bull as reported by Autoblog.

 Red Bull North America Inc in an alliance with Volkswagen will be competing in the new International truck class of the race. Red Bull and Volkswagen Motorsport have a long relationship as evidenced by their participation in four Dakar rallies.

One of the most intriguing joint efforts was the building of an autonomous robotic vehicle, the 04 Touareg Stanley as part of the 2005 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Grand Challenge where entrants conduct simulated military supply missions in a staged urban area. It is one thing to have autonomous grounded vehicles that can navigate across treacherous terrain from city to city, but the holy grail is a  robotically brainy autonomous vehiclethat can operate in safe conditions in the urban jungle, a task of far greater complexity for a robotic ‘autopilot’. The Urban Challenge Program, involving negotiating busy intersections, traffic roundabouts and other city drivers it is believed will assist in achieving DARPA’s goal by 1915 that one third of the operational ground combat vehicles are unmanned. This involves joint efforts from academics and robotics AI teams.

The 39th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 has two VW Race Touareg entrants in the 420 mile long race which starts at Ensenada winding clockwise back to Ensenada, and this year boasts a record field of over 450 entrants.

There are no rear mirrors in this race so to make your presence felt its common practice for drivers to tag or bump their competitors from behind. Mark Miller, the five time crowned champion of the race, has previously contested the tough Baja 500 many times. No other endurance sprint race tests the limits of man and machine as the Baja 500, except perhaps the Baja 1000.

Volkswagen of America, Inc. entered into a multi-year marketing partnership with SCORE International to become the Official Vehicle of SCORE .

The Baja Bug is popular in desert regions and customising them for daily driving rather than dune racing has become a popular pasttime.

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