The VW Atlas Cross Sport R is Volkswagen’s entry to the Baja 1000 race in 2020.
Revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the VW Atlas Cross Sport R is clearly not your average Atlas Cross Sport. The 2020 Atlas that was also revealed in LA is a pretty standard SUV to compete against the likes of Chevy Blazers and Jeep Grand Cherokees. The Atlas Cross Sport R is a trophy truck designed to race in the most grueling competition known to man.
Driven by VW Rallycross Champion and brand ambassador Tanner Foust, the Atlas Cross Sport R will take part in the Class 7 division, which is for Open Production Unlimited. We're pretty sure the "unlimited" here means unlimited horsepower, so we're eager to see what Volkswagen has come up with.
Under the hood of a normal Atlas Cross Sport would be a 2.0-L inline 4-cylinder turbo making 235 hp or a 3.6-L naturally aspirated V6 with 276 hp. Instead, the Cross Sport R has a different 2.0-L 4-cylinder turbo that was initially developed for Volkswagen Motorsport and is capable of making up to 600 hp.
Sadly, the Cross Sport R's engine will just make 480 hp due to VW's need to balance reliability and performance. After all, the Baja 1000 is a 1,000-mile race through the Mojave Desert, which tends to be hard enough on engines as it is. The winner of the race is more often the truck that survives rather than the truck with the most horsepower.
“Racing as a sport has historically been limited to a very privileged group,” said Saad Chehab, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing. “However, Volkswagens competed at the very beginning of Baja racing, and we’re excited to help keep the fun, youthful spirit of the competition alive by way of our Atlas Cross Sport R.”
Volkswagen will also host a contest to design the truck's racing livery which will open in early 2020. The Atlas Cross Sport R won't actually take part in this year's Baja 1000, which starts on Friday, and instead will compete in the 2020 race.
And for those of you concerned that Volkswagen is giving up its green aspirations for a racing pickup truck, never fear: the company will purchase carbon offsets from The Conservation Fund with a tree being planted for every mile the truck races.