The Golf GT 24

The road car - Golf Edition 35

VW have a habit of celebrating the significant birthdays of their Golf hatchback, and with this year marking the 35th birthday, they decided to do it in style.

A special edition of the legendary GTI was launched, the "Edition 35", which features more power, styling tweaks, and a return of the nostalgic golfball style gear stick.

Normally this is sufficient, a sop to the fans, and a desirable model for years to come, but not this year...  I think some of the engineers at VW have got "Ring Fever"  - and after having run highly tuned Sciroccos for the past 3 years, which have won their classes, and finished high up the order, I believe the desire was to see if VW could score an outright victory!

The racer, jumping kerbs at Hatzenbach

With this, the GT24 was launched, this ditched the 2 litre four pot turbo of the GTI, and R models, and gained a 2.5  litres, 5 cylinder motor, which still being turbocharged, produces around 440bhp, and over half a kilo-newton metre of torque.

Being fearful of torque steer with that much power, the decision was to choose 4 wheel drive, which was followed by some huge aero tweaks, to produce downforce, to improve cornering speeds.

On paper the car should be competitive with the big Porsches, BMWs, Mercedes and Audis, but as with any new car, a few problems have troubled its progress so far, with a first lap retirement in the last VLN compounding this.

However, there is promise - in practice it was lapping in the 8m30 mark, which is a stonking pace, and pretty close (within 15 seconds/lap) of the leaders.

Furthermore VW have opted to enter, not 1, not 2, but 3 Golf24s in the 24hr, race, with some highly experienced drivers, including Johnny Herbert, Rene Rast, Patrick Simon, Thomas Mutsch and Mark  Blundell!

With the Golf expected to be significantly more economical than its competitors, save for perhaps the Hybrid Porsche, if it can last the distance, it may go well at the 24 hour later on this month, and if the weather throws a curve ball, that could be very well.