Volkswagen builds Atlas Cross Sport R desert racer

The purpose-built SUV will compete in the Baja 1000 race next summer.

Volkswagen has debuted the Atlas Cross Sport R, a purpose-built desert race truck that will compete win the Baja 1000 race next year.

The racer was developed with help from VW driver Tanner Foust and Baja race veteran Rhys Millen, representing the first four-wheel-drive vehicle to compete in the Baja Class 7. The truck is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, initially developed for WRC and Rallycross cars with a potential output of 600 horsepower. It will be detuned to approximately 480 horsepower for the Cross Sport R, however.

"I know what this combination of engine and drivetrain is capable of," says Foust. "I'm really excited to see this bit of Beetle DNA live on in the Atlas Cross Sport R and am itching to get behind the wheel."

The German automaker plans to offset the Atlas Cross Sport R's emissions through contributions to The Conservation Fund that will plant more than 1,000 trees.

More details of the race program will be released early next year ahead of the Baja 1000 scheduled for summer.

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