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Fifty years on, Bruce Meyers explains what makes Baja desert racing so essential

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000, one of the world’s most unique and challenging motorsports competitions. Today, it’s a grueling and dangerous test of endurance; a non-stop dash through dirt roads and terrain by hundreds of stock and custom-built race cars or trucks of up to several hundred horsepower. Yet to hear Bruce Meyers tell it, it all started as basically a dare. At 91 years old, Meyers stands as a living link to the cradle of Southern California hot-rod culture. His Meyers Manx dune buggy combined VW Beetle mechanicals with a custom fiberglass shell to create a unique American icon. Meyers was one of a host of racers, motorcyclists and hot-rodders who would run their creations across the sands of California and Mexico in the ‘60s. Here, he tells the story of how the Baja 1000 got started, and why it’s persisted as a special event when so many other races have been forgotten.  

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Volkswagen, Google pair to tackle tough problems with quantum computers

As powerful and omnipresent as computers are today, they have their limits. Despite the pace of innovation, scientists have started bumping against the outer boundaries of modern computing, finding that even the most powerful machines can’t solve some of our most pressing challenges. That’s where Volkswagen Group and Google have an idea. The two companies announced last week that they would team to explore the potential of quantum computers – a revolutionary new technology that, if its promise holds true, could crack some puzzles in seconds that would take today’s strongest supercomputers years. Specialists from the Volkswagen Information Technology Centers in San Francisco and Munich will develop the first automotive software simulations and algorithms on Google’s experimental universal quantum computer, working alongside Google’s own experts. The goal? Unlocking the theoretical power of quantum computing for real-world issues. “Volkswagen’s collaboration with Google marks the beginning of quantum computing in the automotive industry,” said Abdallah Shanti, Executive Vice President and Group Chief Information & Digital Officer for Region Americas, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “It’s a paramount step to addressing modern mobility challenges unlikely to be solved with binary digital electronic computers.” Google’s quantum computer. Photos copyright Google, Eric Lukero The quantum ghost in the machine To understand what makes quantum computers such a breakthrough, you have to dig into the basic structure of all computers. Computing is, after all, just working with numbers, and all modern computers do so by using transistors. A transistor, or “bit,” is a tiny switch; generally, when it’s on, it represents the number 1; when it’s off, it stands for a zero. After several decades of ever-smaller designs, today’s phones and laptops pack billions of transistors handling trillions of digits to stream TV shows and find the nearest four-star sushi place – all of it through shuffling ones and zeros. Quantum computers don’t use transistors. Instead, they rely on quantum bits, which can be individual atoms or subatomic particles. Qubits also have an on or off state, but  – and here’s where things take a turn into the cosmic weirdness of quantum physics – they can also be both at the same time. That means one qubit can represent two numbers, and that a quantum computer’s capacity for numbers doubles with every additional qubit. With just 50 qubits, a quantum computer could handle as much data as a supercomputer – while using a tiny fraction of the time and energy. “The difference in speed is incredible,” says Martin Hofmann, Chief Information Officer of the Volkswagen Group. “A quantum computer can complete calculating tasks in just a few seconds that would take the world’s fastest conventional supercomputer more than a year to perform. “This does not mean that quantum computers are superior per se to conventional computers,” he adds. “But they can perform many highly complicated tasks much faster than conventional supercomputers, or make it possible to perform such jobs in the first place.” From theory to practice Quantum computing has only been a theory until recent breakthroughs, and the entire field remains highly experimental, with many technical hurdles to prove the concept’s potential. Volkswagen was the first automaker in the world to explore with the power of a quantum computer, building a successful simulation of how to move 10,000 taxis around Beijing. Hofmann says VW’s programmers will build on that work with fresh challenges. “One such challenge…would be integrating urban traffic management systems, public transportation or weather conditions into route planning,” he says. “Cities could manage traffic associated with major events or construction sites more efficiently and prevent congestion. In another project, we will simulate material structures, especially for high-performance e-vehicle batteries.” The group will also explore how quantum computers could bolster machine learning or artificial intelligence. Beyond that lies the potential for a second computing revolution. “We plan to seize this opportunity and be one of the first companies to use quantum computers for practical business activities,” Hofmann said. “Together with Google, we are moving application-oriented research forward.”

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Speed & Foust build a trio of wild VW concept vehicles for SEMA

Following a successful, championship-winning Red Bull Global Rallycross season, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammates Scott Speed and Tanner Foust shifted their focus to vehicles that represent their off-duty passions. The duo oversaw the building of three new Volkswagen concept show cars for the 2017 Specialty Equipment Marketing Association show – or SEMA, as it’s known to fans of all things chopped, raised, lowered or otherwise hot-rodded. Like a remixed song, a good custom show car adds some visual excitement without erasing the underlying character of a vehicle. Here’s a closer look at how Foust and Speed did just that with these three: of Built in conjunction with Fifteen52, the GTI sports a modern interpretation of the 1986 Group A World Rally Championship winner with that vehicle’s TA logo (Triumph-Alder) turned into “TF” (Tanner Foust). Version 1 of the Mountune x Foust GTI features several newly engineered Mountune components including engine management, intake, downpipe, and exhaust yielding an estimated 350 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Additionally, ST XTA coil overs, uprated brakes, 19-inch 9J Formula GT wheels, Euro-spec front and rear lighting and Recaro Sportster seats make the concept a well-rounded performer. “We set out to showcase the entry of an aftermarket performance juggernaut into the VW world through this Mountune-Foust concept GTI,” says Foust. “The GTI is the original hot hatch, and is already a great platform to start with. This build will be evolutionary and this step is only the beginning. I cannot wait to show you what we have in store with this Mountune collaboration.” of One of the more unique choices for customs throughout the entire show this year, the Speed Edition e-Golf concept features a 2-inch lower sloping roofline, giving the e-Golf a slimmer and sleeker look. Adding to the overall design, custom painted headlamp eyelids were fitted to the car. Custom one-off Titan7 Ultra-E P1 wheels in anodized blue, wrapped in low-rolling resistance Nexen tires, connect the e-Golf to the pavement. “I am not your traditional hands-on car guy, but I do have my own unique sense of style,“ says Speed, the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross Champion. “We have really gotten aggressive with the look of this car but at the same time maximized the aero and fitted it with a performance eco tire which can provide additional range and driving enjoyment.” of Built from the all-new Volkswagen Atlas, this concept imagines what a deep-country off-road edition might look like. It begins with large tires and rugged wheels, extended fenders and lower-body panel cladding, giving the vehicle a true off-road look. The armored front bumper raises the approach angle and provides underbody protection. Bumper inset and roof mounted light bars illuminate the night for backcountry camping trips, while a roof rack and access ladder keep the interior space passenger-centric. Inside, plaid seat inserts are reminiscent of Volkswagen’s GTI heritage and Foust’s childhood spent in Scotland. “Overlanding has risen in popularity in the past couple of years,” says Foust. “People are looking for ways to get outdoors and go on adventure trips with the whole family. The Atlas is perfect for trips off the paved road and I wanted this concept to enhance the vehicle’s capabilities while maintaining its utility and VW DNA.” Check out the photos below, and go here for a recap of the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team’s 2017 championship-winning Red Bull Global Rallycross season. Modifying vehicles can adversely affect reliability, warranty coverage, & compliance with safety and other standards.

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Volkswagen employees give back all summer long

From building houses to preparing meals for those in need, giving back to the communities where they live and work is part of the everyday roadmap of Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) employees. This past summer, VWGoA locations across the country made a difference in their communities during the inaugural “Summer of Service.” As part of the effort, more than 450 employees around the country volunteered about 1,400 hours working with various charities and organizations to improve the neighborhoods around them. From May to early September, the Summer of Service volunteer effort featured more than 25 different employee volunteer projects organized by VWGoA locations across the U.S. “After a successful, inaugural Get Involved Week in 2015, and a Get Involved Month in 2016, the company expanded the community service initiative to the entire summer after a large number of employees expressed even more interest in volunteering,” said Machelle Williams, Senior Director for Diversity and CSR at VWGoA. While this summer was designated as a concentrated effort to volunteer together, the company encourages employees to “Get Involved” year-round through initiatives like matching employee donations, a paid day off to volunteer and an annual leadership award recognizing employees for their outstanding efforts giving back to their communities. As part of the Summer of Service, Volkswagen headquarters in Herndon, Va. welcomed Generosity Feeds, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food to local children for a meal-packing event. In under two hours, roughly 50 employees assembled more than 5,000 meals to be delivered to a local elementary school. “One of the great things about our Get Involved efforts is that they bring people from the entire company together,” said Ryan Forkenbrock an Experiential Marketing Specialist for Volkswagen. “Volunteering brings people who don’t normally get to work together, together.” “When non-profits and businesses work together they strengthen their communities,” said Ron Klabunde, President and Founder of Generosity Feeds. “We are grateful to Volkswagen for the work they are doing to strengthen their community and offer children hope.”

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Scott Speed, Volkswagen Andretti take 3rd straight Global Rallycross titles in Los Angeles

Both Volkswagen Andretti Global Rallycross drivers found success this weekend at the season finale in Los Angeles, securing wins in the race and the overall Driver’s Championship. Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC, focused on protecting the championship title all weekend. To do this, he needed to be fast, but limit the risks he took on the track. After qualifying second on Friday, Speed battled second and third-place finishes in early Heat races on Saturday, but won his Semifinal putting him back into a good starting position for the Final. Speed was shuffled to fourth in early laps of the Final, but fought his way back to a second-place finish with a smart execution of the joker lap, safely clinching the Driver’s Championship. “The whole week leading up to the race I was constantly thinking of the what-ifs, all the problems that could happen going in with a solid lead,” said Scott Speed. “My hat is off to everyone – I have the best team out here. I’m so lucky for them and we have great partners in Volkswagen, Circle K, Oberto, Expedite Home Loans and Rockstar – it was a team effort!” Tanner Foust, driver of the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle GRC, wasn’t just trying to win the race, but with 30 points separating him from Speed, Foust was aiming to win the championship as well. He kicked off the weekend qualifying fastest out of the ten cars participating, and continued to stay in the top spot through Saturday’s Heat races and Semifinal. Foust finished the perfect weekend at the top of the race podium, but ultimately, couldn’t help but watch his teammate finish directly behind him in second-place. Foust celebrated his fifth win of the 2017 season and finished second in the overall Driver’s Championship for the second year in a row. “The key is qualifying,” said Tanner Foust. “That sets you up for success for the rest of the weekend. We snuck that away from Scott [Speed] and then there was a glimmer of hope – we made it through the Heats. We came into the Final actually having a chance to win [the championship] if Scott finished eighth or worst. I’m not going to lie, that was a big gap in points, but I was feeling it. I’m so happy for our team on the Rockstar side of the Volkswagen Andretti tent.” Going into this weekend’s race, just 30 points separated first-place, Speed, from second-place, Foust, in the Driver’s Championship. With the conclusion of Saturday’s race, Scott Speed finished the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season with 826 points, 19 points ahead of Tanner Foust. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross also celebrated its third consecutive Manufacturer’s Championship. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross will return to action for the 2018 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, hoping to keep the momentum going.

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The Special Edition Tradition

Celebrating a long association of the Volkswagen Beetle with surfing and coastal heritage, the new 2018 Beetle Coast Special Edition will get you to the seashore — or anywhere else — in a fun modern twist on its long heritage. It’s just the latest in a long tradition of attention-getting Volkswagen Special Editions. The 2018 Beetle Coast offers unique new features including Deep Sea Teal exterior paint, two-tone black/beige “Pepita” cloth seats, and a surfboard wood-look dash pad with retro-style Kaeferfach (“beetle-bin”) glovebox. The Beetle Coast will also be offered in Habanero Orange, Tornado Red, Pure White, Deep Black, and Blue Silk and as both a coupe (with sunroof) and Cabrio convertible. The 1971 Beetle GSR (Gelb-Schwarzer Renner). It’s German for “Yellow-Black Racer” and was sold in the United States as the Super Beetle Sports Bug. A 2014 version added racing stripes. The 2004 Golf R32 came with a lower suspension, bigger front spoiler, and twin exhausts; inside were R-logoed Konig seats. But the main attraction was a 240 hp, 3.2-liter VR6 that launched the R32 from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.1 The 2016 Beetle Denim gave a nod to nostalgia with a special Stonewashed Blue exterior color option, a Denim Blue convertible top, unique denim-look sport seats, and heritage wheel design. The 2017 #PinkBeetle was the first vehicle named with its own hashtag and the only Beetle to wear Fresh Fuchsia Metallic pink paint. Gloss-black mirror caps and black side sills accented the exterior while the interior featured Pink Club cloth seats, interior accents, and piping. of

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The 2018 Golf Family is On its Way!

Golf enthusiasts cheer! The 2018 Golf family lineup has gotten a few updates that will make you happy it’s model year update time. Read on for all the juicy details. Family Updates Overall, all models receive styling updates for front and rear bumpers, as well as new chrome accents on some models. Radiant, full-LED taillights and LED Daytime Running Lights are standard now, while available full-LED headlights replace the previous years’ bi-xenon option on some models. Inside the cabin, infotainment systems feature larger, crisper touchscreens: 6.5-inch displays are standard while some trims get 8-inch screens. More Driver Assistance features such as Front Assist (now with Pedestrian Monitoring),1 and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert now come standard on SE trims for some models. Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, ParkPilot, Park Assist, and automatic High Beam Control are also available on some models.2 All of this because Golf owners say it’s what they want, and Volkswagen wants to show they’re listening. Here’s a model-by-model rundown of what else is new for each member of the family: Want to know more about the GTI? Check out our infographic to learn about the history of this iconic model. 1 Pedestrian Monitoring has late availability for SE trims. 2 Driver Assistance features are not substitutes for attentive driving. See Owner’s Manual for further details and important limitations. *6 years/72,000 miles (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty on MY2018 VW vehicles excluding e-Golf. See owner’s literature or dealer for warranty exclusions and limitations.

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