It’s been 50 years since Volkswagen started racing the Baja Bug and to celebrate it, VW has announced that it will sponsor the ProjectBaja.com Class 11 Volkswagen Beetle in the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 race. The race starts in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, and finishes in La Paz, Baja California Sur, a route of 1,134 miles.
ProjectBaja.com is a team of Denver-based enthusiasts/racers led by industrial designer Josh McGuckin. The 1970 Beetle, nicknamed “Tope”, has been restored and modified for desert racing by ProjectBaja.com.
“The Class 11 Beetle harks back to the origins of desert racing,” said McGuckin, “We like a challenge and racing a Class 11 in the SCORE Baja 1000 is the ultimate. Our story started in the same way as many Class 11 teams: we were inspired by seeing the little underdog Beetle bouncing through the desert while the big Trophy Trucks made it look easy. Last time we attempted the event, back in 2014, we failed to make it to the finish line, but we are hoping to use everything we learned and 6 years of car development to help us get there this year.”
Some of the modifications the Beetle received include a heavy-duty rear torsion bar adjuster, stiffer springs, Fox dampers and a 22-gallon safety cell. The tires were changed from 165R-15s to 235/75R-15s BFG All Terrains, the rear trailing arms were reinforced, and skid plates were added.
“For decades, Volkswagen Beetle vehicles, Beetle-based racers and Dune Buggies have been competing in this epic event,” said Pietro Zollino, Chief Communications Officer, North American Region, Volkswagen. “We felt it appropriate to sponsor this team of eager enthusiasts who are following in the wheeltracks of Volkswagen desert racers over the past 50 years. We’re looking forward to tracking ProjectBaja.com’s progress over the course of the event and wish them luck!”