This Sunday starts the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) Mexican 1000 race that’ll take place on Mexico’s Baja peninsula. Volkswagen will be there, but it won’t be lugging around any petrol. The automaker is entering a modified VW ID.4 electric vehicle that keeps its stock powertrain but features a host of other upgrades designed to help it tackle the off-road terrain.
Rhys Millen Racing, along with professional racing driver Tanner Foust and Tanner Foust Racing, modified the Volkswagen with a host of upgrades for the grueling challenge. The VW sports rally-style coil-over struts, tubular lower controls arms, and boxed lower rear links. The team raised the radiation for improved cooling and clearance while adding 3/8-inch steel skid plates to the undercarriages for protection. The standard 19-inch wheels were replaced with 18-inch units, which have more sidewall area for traction. The crossover also gets about a two-inch lift.
The ID.4 keeps its stock powertrain, including the 82-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The team hopes to complete 98 percent of the race stages without recharging, and it will add electrons back to the racer with a 50-kWh portable fast charger that uses biofuels. The engine makes its stock 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts) as the company hasn’t made any modifications to the drive systems. Foust took the car for several test drives, discovering that the off-roader worked best when left in its regular drive mode settings with traction control and batter-regeneration engaged.
VW isn’t a stranger to the NORRA Mexican 1000. The company entered and won the inaugural race in 1967 with a Beetle-based Meyers Manx. This year’s race kicks off Sunday, April 25, and runs through April 29 where competitors will race 1,141 miles for victory. Foust will pilot the ID.4 alongside writer and off-road racer Emme Hall. VW modified the interior by stripping out features like the HVAC system while adding in a roll cage, racings seats, and new screens that’ll display important vehicle information.