According to Motor Trend, Matthias Müller, CEO of Porsche, Volkswagen Group, is considering bringing Volkswagen to NASCAR. The German automaker is expected to start talks with NASCAR officials at season’s end about a potential entry into the sport.
VW is considering getting into the sport because of its new midsize sedan that will be built at its assembly plant in Tennessee. That sedan is expected to be a base for the model it would use if it enters NASCAR.
Automobile magazine adds:
A Volkswagen NASCAR entry makes more sense than you’d initially think. … The sedan was reportedly designed specifically with Americans’ tastes in mind, and fielding a NASCAR entry based on the car would be a good way to drum up publicity for the new sedan.
Volkswagen is rumored to be considering Penske Racing as a candidate for its entry into the sport. That would mean Penske needs to switch from Dodges to Volkswagens, which is not going to happen next season, according to SPEED.com.
SPEED is reporting that sources said that Penske intends to continue fielding Dodges in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series next season. This may be because VW hasn’t taken the necessary steps to gain NASCAR approval.
In order to gain entry into the sport, VW has to formally submit a race car and engine package for approval. That hasn’t yet happened, SPEED reports. That means a VW entry would not be approved before the 2011 season.
And, the merger of Porsche, VW, and Audi all under one ownership structure has drastically slowed new motorsport initiatives.
This news follows NASCAR Chairman Brian France’s comments last year that he was open to more foreign automakers entering NASCAR. So, while this is far from a done deal, it certainly is a possibility.
Update: Volkswagen ended speculation that it was considering entry into NASCAR last week. Ulrich Hackenberg, head of technical development at Volkswagen, said:
Nothing for us. There is certainly the one or the other person out there in the world that would wish for that, but we don’t have that on the program. I should know what I am talking about, since it would come out of my budget.
He also said that VW would not enter Formula 1.