Volkswagen successfully completed its attempt at the famous Baja 1000 off-road race with its Baja Race Touareg TDI prototype -- the first clean-diesel vehicle to complete the 1000-km (634-mile) event in the high-performance trophy truck class. While the Touareg TDI finished well off the podium in 13th place, the team was still satisfied with the results, this being its first Baja 1000 race with the new clean-diesel vehicle.
"Our aim for our first Baja 1000 was to finish the event with our all-new Touareg TDI -- and we managed to do that," said Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director in a statement. "That's why we're really satisfied."
Contributing to the VW Touareg TDI's finishing position was a defective gearbox seal that required complete replacement of the gearbox -- costing the team precious time and relegating them to a finish outside of the top ten. The team also swapped the rear differential later in the race "just to be on the safe side." Don Tebbe, project manager for the Arciero Miller Racing team, which works in close contact with VW Motorsport, said that work is already progressing on an improved version of the differential.
The Race Touareg TDI Trophy Truck charged through the 41st Baja 1000 race with a 5.5L V-12 clean diesel engine with an output of 550 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque. As could be expected, the Touareg was thoroughly modified for the event's grueling conditions with 25-in. of suspension travel up front and 30-in. of travel in the rear.
Volkswagen is no stranger to off-road racing, having previously entered racing diesel-powered versions of its Touareg in the Paris to Dakar Rally, Baja 500, Pike's Peak hill climb, and Central European Rally to some success.