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Natural Gas Volkswagen Sciroccos to race at Nurburgring

Volkswagen will field two Scirocco cars with natural gas engines at the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race on 23/24 May.

Following the historic one-two victory at the Dakar Rally in January, which Volkswagen won as the first automobile manufacturer using diesel technology in the event, the Wolfsburg brand is now taking on another technical challenge – the use of EcoFuel engines in the endurance test on the world’s most demanding race track.

The two Scirocco GT24-CNG 2.0-litre turbo engines powered by natural gas deliver nearly 300 hp. In addition, the ‘factory’ team will field three further Scirocco GT24 cars powered by 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines in the classic endurance race at the “Green Hell” in the Eifel region in Western Germany.

Last year, Volkswagen clinched a one-two victory in the 2.0-litre turbo class before the Scirocco’s market launch.

“The 24-Hour Race offers Volkswagen an exciting stage to demonstrate its technical capabilities and expertise,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “The Scirocco GT24 already proved its strengths as a dynamic sports coupe by clinching class victory in its debut race last year. In 2009, we are taking yet another step forward by using two different engine concepts. We want to prove that Volkswagen offers different powertrain concepts, all of which excel in terms of high efficiency, dynamics and reliability. The Nordschleife and the 24-Hour Race provide an ideal test bed for this purpose.”

For this test on the challenging Nordschleife, Volkswagen has developed a CNG (compressed natural gas) version based on the 2.0-litre petrol engine that was victorious last year. The engineers primarily focused on the fuel induction system of the unit equipped with a turbocharger as well as on the balance between maximum exhaust gas temperature and full usage of the turbocharger’s potential in order to optimise both driveability and power output. The result: just under 300 hp and 350 Nm of torque which continue to be transmitted to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG gearbox operated by paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

The new generation of natural gas turbo engines takes full advantage of the high anti-knock quality of approx. 130 octane offered by natural gas fuel. This enables natural gas vehicles to achieve a level of driving dynamics unrivalled by any other alternative powertrain system. Furthermore, natural gas as a fuel is particularly eco-friendly as well as very cost-effective.

On average, natural gas vehicles reduce CO2 emissions by 25 per cent compared with conventional spark ignition engines. The combustion process generates almost no particulate matter or fine dust.