This week, Volkswagen of America will make its inaugural entry in the Rebelle Rally, a woman-driven and navigated off-road competition in the deserts of Nevada and California, the automaker announced. Driver Mercedes Lilienthal and navigator Emily Winslow will run the prepared ID.4 AWD Pro electric SUV during the competition from Oct. 7–16.
“The Rebelle Rally is blazing a new trail in motorsports and presents tremendous opportunity for us to introduce our ID.4 and electric vehicles to an even greater audience,” said Kimberley Gardiner, senior vice president, marketing, Volkswagen of America. “Volkswagen helped make off-road competitions popular in the ‘60s, and we’ve only just begun to explore the potential of electrification in off-roading motorsports. We’re really excited to have Mercedes and Emily leading the charge on this experience of a lifetime.”
The Rebelle Rally, now in its sixth year, is the first all-women rally raid event of its kind in the United States, challenging teams and vehicles across 1,400 miles through the deserts of Nevada and California.
Lilienthal and Winslow will compete in the ID.4 AWD Pro in the crossover category. Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing are modifying the vehicle with new suspension components, tubular control arms, fabricated skid plates, battery protection and other items to fully equip the vehicle for the driving expedition. The vehicle will also be outfitted with Thule rack accessories and Yokohama Geolandar A/T tires.
The AWD ID.4’s 82kWh (gross) battery along with the permanent-magnet synchronous motor in the rear and asynchronous motor in the front will remain as is, offering a combined maximum 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The ID.4 AWD Pro has an EPA-estimated range of 249 miles on a full charge.
The vehicle wrap was created by Salt Lake City-based artist Liz Kuz, who drew inspiration from the anticipated rally terrain throughout the Nevada and California deserts, she said.
In its brief existence, the ID.4 already has a history of off-road racing after competing in the NORRA Mexican 1000 earlier this year. A production ID.4 1st Edition RWD vehicle was modified by Rhys Millen Racing and managed by Tanner Foust Racing, with Foust at the wheel, giving the duo great insight into getting the team and vehicle ready for the Rebelle Rally, the company said.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Lilienthal is a freelance journalist for outlets like The New York Times, Forbes Wheels and Crankshaft Culture and is Editor-at-Large for TREAD Magazine. She participated in the 2018 Rebelle Rally. Winslow, a project manager, lives in Puyallup, Washington, and participated in the Rebelle Rally in 2018 and 2019, with a podium finish her first year.