30 June 2024 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo makes World RX comeback with Kristoffersson Motorsport

In addition to being a successful circuit racer and rally car, the Volkswagen Polo has been a rallycross star, too. It has dipped out of the FIA World Rallycross (World RX) series in recent seasons due to the championship’s switch to electric-powered vehicles (although the Volkswagen RX1e was in all intents and purposes a Polo, at least certainly in silhouette). However, the VW is back to mix it on the mixed surface racetracks in 2024, as six-time World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson switches back to a combustion-engined car in his chase for a seventh career crown

Running on sustainable fuel, the (deep breath) 2024 Volkswagen Polo KMS 601 RX is the result of a partnership between Kristoffersson Motorsport (KMS) and Horse Powertrain, through Swedish company Aurobay. Supported by Volkswagen, Red Bull, and Bauhaus, a pair of Polos will compete in the inaugural ‘Battle of the Technologies’ campaign. Ole Christian Veiby will partner Kristoffersson in the second Polo RX. 

The cars have been developed in-house over the winter at the KMS Arvika workshop, and are described by team principal Tommy Kristoffersson as the best rallycross cars his crew has ever built. That looks to be true, in their only competitive outing to-date – at Tierp in the 2024 RallyX curtain-raiser – Kristoffersson and Veiby delivered a definitive one-two finish on both days. However, Kristoffersson is playing down their chances of repeating that feat at the highest level.

‘It will be tough to compete against the electric cars with our machines, but Aurobay is a dream partner for us, not only as a sponsor but also in technical terms,’ says Kristoffersson Jnr. ‘It will be fun to work with a long-term structure and plan accordingly. This is an exciting project that has a lot of typical KMS spirit about it.’

Veiby, who will be chasing his maiden World RX victory in 2024, echoes his teammate. ‘We are doing a turnaround and going in a different direction, which makes it difficult to predict how we will compare with the competition,’ he says. ‘There are many complicated elements that have to be tested on a new car, but it will be exciting to work with such a large and supportive partner,’ he continues.

Under the guiding hand of Kristoffersson Snr, KMS took the 2022 and 2023 World RX Teams’ trophies, and he is similarly upbeat about the new partnership, which he believes can help to send the outfit to the next level. ‘Aurobay is the best partner we can think of,’ says the multiple Swedish Rallycross Champion. ‘This is a win-win situation – we will benefit tremendously from each other. We both have a large staff of extremely talented engineers, meaning we will be able to exchange experiences and also personnel.

‘In the Volkswagen Group where I was trained, the motto has always been all motorsport should ultimately benefit the consumer. There is nothing that drives development forward as effectively as competition. With this project, we can take part in developing tomorrow’s engines,’ he states.

‘It’s inspiring to see the extreme desire and passion that exists within Horse Powertrain and Aurobay. Our ambition is a long-term collaboration for at least five years, which gives us the peace of mind to develop our cars with long foresight. We also hope to contribute to our partner becoming an obvious alternative as an engine manufacturer for many different car brands.

‘On the sporting side, “Battle of Technologies” is a fantastic concept that is unique to rallycross. It is an extremely big challenge, but an interesting one. We have a brand new car, a brand new partner and a very short timespan to match the electric cars. Although we have won in World RX for the last few years, we have to be humble and realise it will take a lot for us to fight for the title again, but having always aspired to be an attractive team for someone who is looking for a development partner, now we are there, it feels incredibly satisfying,’ Kristoffersson reports. 

Aurobay has developed, engineered and manufactured next-generation powertrain solutions for over 100 years, while Horse Powertrain Limited is a global leader in hybrid and combustion powertrain components and systems. With a 19,000-strong workforce across three continents, it partners with automotive OEMs worldwide to enable a faster transition to cleaner mobility.

‘Our vision for racing and performance is that we want to show the world our off-the-shelf two-litre engines can be tuned to much higher power levels to achieve great results in motorsport,’ explains Michael Fleiss, Aurobay Sweden CEO. ‘The FIA World Rallycross Championship is a fantastic platform for Horse Powertrain Ltd to show what ICE can deliver when powered by alternative fuels,’ says Matias Giannini, CEO of Horse Powertrain Limited. ‘We can provide powerful, lightweight and modular solutions for any occasion.’

The 2024 World RX campaign will get underway on KMS-Horse Powertrain home soil at Höljes’ legendary World RX of Sweden ‘Magic Weekend’ on 6-7 July. Kristoffersson and Veiby will be joined by Gustav Bergström and Sondre Evjen who will be driving a pair of electric Volkswagen RX1e rallycross machines.

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