VW Touareg TDI hits the BAJA 1000

From guest blogger Amanda Amann (MF's Auto Babe)

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One of the most exciting vehicles revealed at the LA Auto Show was the VW Baja Race Touareg TDI. It is an electrifying off road racing beast. As I was standing in the Volkswagen area trying to get a clear shot of the vehicle; I heard a someone say "Can I buy one of these here and take it back South America?" I couldn't help but chuckle.

I wouldn't mind racing through Venezuela with the Touareg either.

Fully equipped... The VW Race Touareg TDI is the first clean diesel vehicle to ever race at Baja.

The VW Touareg TDI was only available for viewing on the first LA Auto Show press day because she had a hot date in Baja.

The day after the LA Auto Show, I drove to Ensenada, Mexico. This was my first Baja 1000 and certainly won't be my last. Friday at 10:30am vehicles lined up at the starting line while photographers and spectators anticipated the beginning of the 41st Baja 1000.

The Baja 1000 is one of the most challenging races being that it's off and on road, 634.35 miles long, and takes place while the entire track is still open to the public. Not to mention the desert terrains which make for an even more challenging race. Each year there are injuries and even some deaths.  The Baja 1000 is the world's longest non-stop race and has the most grueling terrain.

So who drove the Touareg you ask? Drivers Mark Miller and Ryan Aciero were the tough guys for Baja.

I rode in a helicopter a few miles down the track to experience first hand how fast the vehicles were going. The visibility was close to none considering the trail of sand and dirt the vehicle in front trails. I witnessed one four-wheeler run straight into a course pole. He reversed and then kept trucking. I must admit that was exciting. Locals were posted on the hoods of their cars to witness the thrills.

As for the VW Touareg TDI, there was a defective seal on the gearbox, which had to be replaced and effected their time. "Our aim for our first Baja 1000 was to finish the event with our all-new Touareg TDI - and we managed to do that. That's why we're really satisfied," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "It was the toughest Baja I've ever driven, the track simply was mercilessly rough," commented Mark Miller, a multiple Baja winner, after arriving at the finish early Saturday morning (November 22, 2008). "At our very first running we immediately showed that the Touareg and the clean TDI technology are a powerful package."

The Touareg finished in 13th place.  The clean diesel VW Race Touareg TDI certainly earned its stripes. Go Volkswagen!



Men's Fitness Auto Babe Amanda Amann is the co-host of Automotive Rhythms, which airs on BET J.

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