Volkswagen is set to again unleash its green racers on the circuit nicknamed “green hell”. The car in question is the Scirocco GT24-CNG, and three of those will make a return to Nordschleife to race in the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race held from 12-16 May.

The Scirocco GT24-CNG is powered by a 2.0-litre TSI engine powered by natural gas, reducing CO2 emissions by 80 per cent over a conventional petrol engine. The unit is a development of the powerplant that secured class victory last year and sees power output increased to 325 bhp from just under 300 bhp. 2010-spec cars also have larger braking systems to reduce maintenance intervals and two extra light units in the front bumper to improve visibility.

One of the three cars, which will be driven by Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board for Technical Development and Prof Dr Stefan Gies, VW’s Head of Chassis Development, will be the testbed for an active electro-hydraulic differential designed to combine the functionality of the standard unit with improved handling characteristics and a reduction in understeer. If it passes this ultimate test of endurance, perhaps we’ll see this feature in VW’s upcoming road cars.

Will Team VW improve on last year’s best placing of 15th? Early signs are promising, with driver Nicki Thim recently posting a lap record on the Nordschleife circuit for a front-wheel drive vehicle in a time of 8m 47.337s.