Volkswagen Targets Baja With Atlas Cross Sport R

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Volkswagen has targeted the 2020 Baja 1,000 with the Atlas Cross Sport R race truck. (Volkswagen Photo)
Volkswagen has targeted the 2020 Baja 1,000 with the Atlas Cross Sport R race truck. (Volkswagen Photo)

LOS ANGELES — Volkswagen will return to the SCORE Baja 1,000 next season with the  Atlas Cross Sport R race truck, which will be entered in the in Class 7 Open Production Unlimited division.

The truck was unveiled Thursday at the LA Auto Show. The prototype race truck is the first look at the vehicle that will compete in the SCORE Baja 1,000 next November.

“Racing as a sport has historically been limited to a very privileged group,” said Saad Chehab, Senior Vice President, VW Brand Marketing. “However, Volkswagens competed at the very beginning of Baja racing, and we’re excited to help keep the fun, youthful spirit of the competition alive by way of our Atlas Cross Sport R.”

Developed in conjunction with Volkswagen driver Tanner Foust and Baja race veteran Rhys Millen, the Atlas Cross Sport R will be the first four-wheel-drive vehicle to enter Baja Class 7 competition. Power will be distributed to the wheels from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, first developed by Volkswagen Motorsport for use in its WRC and Rallycross programs. Capable of running up to 600 horsepower — or 300 hp per liter — the engine will be detuned to roughly 480 horsepower for an optimized balance of performance and reliability. Currently in concept form, the vehicle is being tested for further development and finalization before the 2020 race.

Fresh off his ARX Rallycross championship, Foust helped introduce the Atlas Cross Sport R during Volkswagen’s LA Auto Show press conference. Foust will be one of the drivers sharing the wheel of the truck during the 2020 Baja 1,000.

“I know what this combination of engine and drivetrain is capable of,” Foust said. “I’m really excited to see this bit of Beetle DNA live on in the Atlas Cross Sport R and am itching to get behind the wheel.”

Volkswagen will invite designers from schools and colleges nationwide to participate in the design of the Atlas Cross Sport R’s race livery. Full details on the competition will be released in early 2020.