2017 Year in Review: Volkswagen
FINISH: 1st in Manufacturer points
2017 RESULTS: 9 wins, 19 podiums, 58 heat wins, 59 manufacturer points
2016 RESULTS: 8 wins, 14 podiums, 45 heat wins, 51 manufacturer points
THE GOOD: How do you top an eight-win, 14-podium season like the one that Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross had in 2016? With nine victories, 19 podiums, and even an increase of heat victories. Tanner Foust’s single-season record of 27 heat and semifinal wins from last year was absolutely smashed by both teammate Scott Speed and Foust himself, as they took 30 and 28 wins, respectively, in the preliminary rounds. Speed also added his third driver’s title in a row.
The Volkswagen dominance was on display throughout the second half of the season, as Beetles won the final seven rounds of the year. Speed (Atlantic City) and Foust (Seattle) each swept a doubleheader, and continued their mission to rewrite the record books. Speed now holds single-season records for podiums, heat wins, and points, as well as the all-time points record; Foust tied the single-year win mark and leads all-time in wins, podiums, and heat wins.
THE BAD: Hiccups were few and far between, but occasionally significant, for both Speed and Foust in 2017. Mechanical troubles in Ottawa forced Speed to miss Red Bull GRC’s first-ever Canadian main event, briefly dropping him from first to fourth in the standings and forcing him to claw his way back to the top with finishes of second, first, first, and first in the next four races.
As for Foust, he only fell 19 points short of the championship. A nightmare weekend in Atlantic City, marred by a DNF on Saturday and multiple penalties on Sunday, was the biggest culprit, as it cost him what had been a reasonably comfortable championship advantage. But a late incident in the second New England final with a commanding lead also robbed him of what would have been a sixth win, and enough points to have squeaked out his third Supercar title.
2018 PROGNOSIS: Business as usual? The rest of the paddock is working hard to supplant VARX from its top spot, but with Foust and Speed already testing next year’s car over in Germany this week, they’re not going to make it easy on anybody.
Photo credit: Louis Yio