Volkswagen will display its specially built Touareg TDI Baja racer at the Los Angeles auto show on November 19, then send it off to Ensenada, Mexico, for the ultimate Baja test where it will participate in the Baja 1000 race held from November 20-23. This year's Baja 1000 will be Volkswagen's first Baja race.

VW's motorsports director Kris Nissen is realistic about the outcome of the race: "We don't expect to win the first race. It's a new vehicle, with rear-drive; a heavier vehicle. We'll do our best to finish the race, then work hard in the winter -- and I promise we'll be a winner in 2009. Our goal is to go to the 2009 Baja 1000 next November and have a good feeling we can win the race."

Powering the Touareg Baja racer is the same 5.5L V-12 turbodiesel that moves the Audi R10 Le Mans race car. The 12-cylinder engine produces 550 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. The Touareg weighs 4850 lb, but is expected to really move across the harsh Baja landscape.

In addition to participating in the Baja 1000, VW also sends race vehicles to the Dakar Rally Series, 24-Hours of Nrburgring, the Formula 3 Euro Series, and the Formula ADAC Masters.