• Customer sports team Engstler takes the class title at opening round of TCR season

Perfect start to the season for the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR: Drivers Luca Engstler (D), Florian Thoma (CH), Benjamin Leuchter (D) and Jean-Karl Vernay (F) of the Liqui Moly Team Engstler claimed a TCR class victory in the 24-hour race in Dubai which was also the victory in the TCE touring cars category.

As at the Nürburgring 24 Hours 2017, the 350-hp-strong Golf GTI finished ahead of all the GT4 cars in Dubai, underlining its reputation as something of a surprise package on the sports car scene.

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director: „Congratulations to Liqui Moly Team Engstler. Perfect preparation, a great team, a clever strategy and a strong driver line-up have made this fantastic result possible.

At the same time, the Golf GTI TCR has shown its strengths once again and what it is capable of in a 24 hours race.”

The Golf GTI TCR, which was prepared perfectly on site and entered by Liqui Moly Team Engstler, overcame the extreme demands of a 24-hour race and ran like clockwork.

Starting from third place in the TCR class, the team produced a consistently strong performance and refused to be put off by the large field, with a total of 89 cars.

The number 130 Golf GTI TCR had moved up to second place in its class by the halfway point of the race.

Franz Engstler’s team had the ideal strategy for the closing stages of the race, pulling clear of the chasing pack and refusing to relinquish the lead.

Engstler and his fellow drivers – reigning TCR International Series champion, Jean-Karl Vernay, the 2017 champion in the TCR class of the VLN Endurance Championship, Benjamin Leuchter, and touring car newcomer Florian Thoma – appear to have formed a successful team right from the word go in 2018.

The Golf GTI TCR was one of the most successful racing touring cars in 2017: in the TCR International Series, French driver Jean-Karl Vernay claimed the drivers’ title last year and the 350 HP racing Golf with the two-litre turbo engine, which Volkswagen Motorsport provides race-ready for professional teams and drivers, was also declared “Model of the Year”.