These Four ‘Boring’ Manufacturers Actually Have Successful Race Programs

Whether it be for reliability, performance or styling, the reputations of all manufactures largely can be traced back to road cars. But an unlucky few have been labeled boring because of their road-going models, even though they have lots of success in racing.

People assume companies that mostly sell bland vehicles do so because they can’t make anything more exciting. More often than not, however, that’s not the reason at all.

Manufacturers choose their product offerings based on the vehicle segments in which they see the largest opportunities for success, not based on their abilities. Automakers, both large and small, typically employ some of the brightest engineering minds in the world, and have a breadth of mechanical know-how.

To prove this, here are four “boring” manufacturers that have successful racing programs:

Volkswagen: Red Bull Global Rallycross

Tanner Foust

Photo via Red Bull Content Pool

VW partnered with one of the biggest names in American motorsport in Andretti Autosport when it joined Red Bull GRC in 2014, and the two have been competitive since day one. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Scott Speed has taken first place the driver championship in the last two seasons, and he and teammate Tanner Foust currently hold the top-two spots in the standings.

New Englanders got to witness VARX’s dominance first-hand recently, with Foust winning all but one session in the GRC New England double-header. The German manufacturer likely will remain strong for the foreseeable future, as VW’s new motorsport program places more emphasis on rallycross.

Toyota: World Endurance Championship

Toyota, World Endurance Championship

Photo via Toyota

Toyota’s most well-known hybrid, the Prius, is known for being a snooze fest. But it’s hybrid-powered LMP1 race cars are some of the fastest in the World Endurance Championship. In fact, Toyota nearly won last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, but suffered a mechanical issue in the final hour.

However, it’s a bit odd Toyota doesn’t highlight this multi-million-dollar effort, and instead plays into stereotypes of hybrids. When it announced a concept at SEMA Show 2016, it said, “Racetracks have historically been home to sports, muscle and performance cars. Hybrid cars would have been laughed off the track, until the Prius G.”

Toyota: World Rally Championship

Toyota, World Rally Championship

Photo via Red Bull Content Pool

The Japanese manufacturer’s success isn’t limited to race tracks, either. Toyota Gazoo Racing returned to WRC this year and took victory in just the second round of the season. Unfortunately, the supercharged Yaris that Toyota is making to promote its WRC campaign won’t be sold stateside.

Hyundai: World Rally Championship

Hyundai, World Rally Championship

Photo via Red Bull Content Pool

Hyundai, which arguably has more of a reputation for being boring than Toyota, also does quite well in WRC. So far in 2017, it’s won two of the six rounds, claiming back-to-back wins in France and Argentina. Those wins likely won’t change its reputation in the United States, though, as Hyundai also won’t sell its upcoming hot hatch here.

Cadillac: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Cadillac DPi-V.R

Photo via Cadillac

Cadillac apparently grew tired of people assuming only retirees in Florida buy its cars, as it entered the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2017. What’s more, in it’s return to endurance racing, Cadillac finished P1 overall to win the season-opening 24-hour event.

Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool

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