With a few high-elevation exceptions, spring is flourishing in the Northern Hemisphere. However, Volkswagen isn’t quite ready to give up the snow just yet. Utilizing a prepared snow course in the Austrian town of Zell am See, the new Golf R challenges itself in a series of contests designed to measure speed and precision.
The cars featured here are new 2021 models identical right down to color. As such, the challenge really comes from behind the wheel where Volkswagen R test driver Benny Leuchter and Swiss racing driver Jasmin Preisig duke it out for Golf R supremacy. Dubbed the Golf R Winter Challenge, there are now several short videos to peruse at the Volkswagen R YouTube channel. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the two clips that are arguably the most entertaining.
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It starts with the video at the top of this article, featuring a side-by-side drag race with a twist. Not only do the drivers accelerate down a modest stretch of snow, they must then come to a complete stop with the front fascia positioned in a rather short finish line box. Pull up too early and you lose. Push past the far end of the box and you lose. It’s a fun challenge that also reminds us of the importance of proper tires in slick conditions. All-wheel drive can get you going, but it doesn’t make a lick of difference when trying to stop.
The second video we’ll feature (above) is actually the first in the series, showcasing the Golf R’s opposite lock capabilities. Two challenges are part of this showdown – pulling off the longest drift through a corner, followed by nailing a drift through a straight section of cones. The first challenge requires drivers to hit the cones precisely with the rear wheel, but hitting cones on the second challenge is a major fail. Both drivers obviously have some sideways skill, but the Golf R’s superb drift mode – a feature we’ve experienced ourselves – is on-hand to help as well.
The videos are short enough to enjoy in small bursts, but they’re also a reminder that we’re still waiting for both the new GTI and Golf R to arrive in the States. Mercifully, that will happen later this year.