In the year since Hyundai declared its intentions of re-enter the world of WRC, they have been hard at work trying to make that a reality. They have gone about it methodically- building a professional team, planting a center dedicated to motorsports in Germany, and only then did they begin the actual development of the WRC car. Today, the product of a year’s worth of work from Hyundai was showcased. It is called the 2014 i20 WRC and will race for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team.
The Rallye Monte Carlo race, which will be held this coming January, will be the first competitive event the i20 WRC takes part in. The Korean company will have two cars representing it and the team will consist of Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Juho Hänninen, and Chris Atkinson.
“We have worked tremendously hard to get where we are today and to be able to launch our new WRC team to the world. In less than one year, we have built and tested a brand new WRC-specification car, the Hyundai i20 WRC, and established a professional team and modern motorsport facility,” said Michael Nandan, principal of the Alzenau, Germany based team.
The i20 was the right fit considering the WRC stipulations on the kind of car that can be used. Participant vehicles must not be longer than 12.8 feet and should sport only 1.6 litre capacity four-cylinder mills. The i20 is an almost perfect match.
Though it is the first time an i20 will be taken to the WRC, Hyundai is not new to the sport. The Korean company took part in the even between 2000 and 2003. The company’s return shows their strategy of growth in Europe, where WRC is quite a fad. One of the vested interests that the company has in making the move is to find a way to channel some of the successful technologies in the WRC cars into the ones that are road-legal. Hyundai is particularly looking to enhance the way their cars handle in different conditions.
Coinciding with the launch of the WRC i20, a performance division of the company has been commissioned. They will conduct research on ways to transpose the race car’s technology onto the ones in their standard fleet. The team has been simply named ‘N’, inspired by the company’s Namyang R&D facility in South Korea.
Hyundai has had remarkable success with their i10 and 120’s in India. The latest in that line of cars was the Grand i10, which has managed to create a loyal following in a short span of time. The car has sold 33,000 units in just 90 days of being launched. Seeing the kind f work Hyundai is putting into the i20, it too should be an exciting prospect for the Indian market in the coming year.
Source: Motor Authority