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No to NASCAR – for now – but VW Group Has Big Plans for U.S. Motorsports

Indy, American Le Mans and other series under study.

by on Sep.29, 2011

Audi's R19 diesel-powered race car at the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Countering rumors that the Volkswagen Group might test its mettle in NASCAR, the head of the maker’s motorsports operation said there are no plans — “at the moment” – to go stock car racing, but the German maker does plan to sharply increase its involvement in U.S. racing in the coming years.

A wide range of programs are under study, according to Wolfgang Durheimer, the former Porsche R&D chief who now serves double-duty as the CEO of Bentley and the head of motorsports for the entire VW Group.

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“In my strategy role I am evaluating all motorsports activities,” said the executive following a preview of the new Bentley Convertible GTC convertible in Croatia, noting that, “The U.S. offers a variety of interesting race series.”

One that he has turned thumbs down on is NASCAR, though Durheimer didn’t seem to be shutting the door entirely.  But the high cost of that series would take cash that could be better focused on other racing ventures, he said.  There’s VW’s new involvement in WRC, a widely-popular rally championship.