Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016: Volkswagen celebrates 40 years of the Golf GTI in England
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By: Volkswagen

•Strietzel Stuck drives primal GTI in legendary hill climb

• Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place from 23 to 26 June

It is one of the most extraordinary events for classic automobiles and racing cars of every era: the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And it all starts today. Everyone who's anyone will be there when the Earl of March and Kinrara, Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, opens the gates of his estate in Westhampnett, England for the festival. This year at the site, two hours' drive from London, they will be celebrating a Volkswagen icon: the Golf GTI. For it is now 40 years young. The journey across the English Channel has been made by a Golf Mk1 GTI racing car and the new Golf GTI Clubsport S. Another star at the spectacle of speed will be the Polo R WRC. Both the Golf Mk1 GTI and Polo R WRC will be taking part in the legendary hill climb. At the wheel: racing drivers Strietzel Stuck and Jari-Matti Latvala.

It all began in 1976. Volkswagen launched the first Golf GTI. A production run of only 5,000 was planned. But the GTI democratised the outside lane of the motorway and became the icon of compact sports cars. To date more than two million motorists around the world have gone for a Golf GTI. Delivering 228 kW / 310 PS, the most powerful version is the new 'Clubsport S' – a finely balanced cross between road and racing car with a limited production run of just 400. Volkswagen is now bringing history full circle at Goodwood. With the Golf Mk1 GTI and the Golf GTI Clubsport S the company is showing the origin of the cult compact car and its new flagship at one and the same time.

In terms of power the Golf GTI Clubsport S is on a par with the 232 kW / 315 PS Polo R WRC, with which Volkswagen won the World Rally Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and is on course for the title again in 2016. One of its drivers: Jari-Matti Latvala (31). In the climax to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the hill climb, the speedy Finn will be powering the Polo R WRC up the southern English hills. Also taking part in the legendary hill climb will be Hans-Joachim Stuck (65) – the well-known former Formula 1, DTM and Le Mans star – in an historic Golf Mk1 GTI racing car (222 PS).

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