Volkswagen will not launch a renewed assault on the front-wheel-drive Nürburgring lap record with a new generation of the GTI Clubsport S, the company has confirmed.
Speaking to Autocar ahead of the reveal of the new 296bhp GTI Clubsport, head of driving dynamics Karsten Schebsdat admitted that a follow-up to the two-seat model is “not planned now”.
No official reason has been given, but it is reasonable to assume that financial pressure from a combination of the pandemic and the costs of the Dieselgate scandal, believed to be up to £30 billion and still growing, is a key factor.
The previous-generation GTI Clubsport S was limited to a production run of 400 cars. In December 2016, it set the lap record at the Nordschleife for front-wheel-drive production cars of 7min 47.19sec – two seconds faster than the first attempt in May – with VW test driver Benny Leuchter at the wheel. It was beaten a year later by the Honda Civic Type R, which in turn was also pipped by the Renault Mégane RS Trophy-R in 2019 with a time of 7min 40.1sec.
The Clubsport S was the most powerful Golf GTI ever produced, putting out 306bhp. It also featured bespoke suspension components and tuning, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and new brakes. On top of that, the air conditioning, rear seats and some sound deadening were removed.
It is unclear if VW will now turn to the forthcoming Golf R to become its base for lap-time supremacy, or simply not attempt to beat the Renault’s time.