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Volkswagen to Enter 2020 SCORE Baja 1000 Race

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The all-new VW Atlas Cross Sport R
Volkswagen is ready to own the desert
Photo: Volkswagen

Between all of Volkswagen’s announcements about the electric future of the brand and high-profile EV announcements, it can be easy to forget that the automaker has an extensive history in motorsports. In a recent press release, Saad Chehab, Senior Vice President, VW Brand Marketing, confirmed their intent to rejoin the world of off-road racing at the 2020 SCORE Baja 1000 next November.


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As exciting as this announcement is, the most intriguing part of the equation is the vehicle they intend to enter into the race. Born out of a collaboration between successful VW driver Tanner Foust and veteran racer Rhys Millen, Volkswagen debuted the brand new Atlas Cross Sport R at the L.A. Auto Show.

Capable of generating up to 600 horsepower, the Atlas Cross R will be the first four-wheel-drive vehicle to compete in the Baja Class 7 category. The model on display in L.A. is still in the concept phase as VW’s engineers are hard at work fine-tuning the final version for the race next year. Additionally, in a thrilling twist, Volkswagen will invite aspiring designers from schools across America to help design the Atlas Cross Sport R’s livery.

At the reveal, Tanner Foust expressed his enthusiasm to experience the completed vehicle for himself.  “I know what this combination of engine and drivetrain is capable of. 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.”


It may not be the race-ready version: But the Atlas is still fantastic


If Volkswagen’s involvement in a gas-guzzling off-road race seems incongruous with their environmentally-friendly policies, rest assured that the automaker is using the Baja 1000 as an opportunity to positively impact the climate. Through their participation in a carbon offset program that will plant more than 1,000 trees, the whole Baja event will be completely carbon neutral.