Hyundai is driving. – The car

VALLELUNGA – In times when many brands stop allocating funds to motorsport, given the uncertainty on the horizon and the need to invest massively in electrification, Hyundai bucks the trend and continues to respond positively to the call of racing. To date, the South Korean brand is present in World Rally (WRC), in Touring (WTCR) and in Electric Touring Car (ETCR), the series born in 2021 and from this year under the FIA ​​umbrella. Without forgetting the participation of Hyundai Rally Team Italy to Sparco Absolute Italian Rally Championship.

Debut in racing

A commitment that Parliament has made since the beginning since 2014 – start date of the project in WRC – to change the image of the brand, which until then had never been associated with sportsmanship or with racing (if we exclude an unfortunate experience with Accent in WRC, between 2000 and 2003). There first world championshiphowever, it did not come from the World Rally (where Hyundai won the constructors’ title in 2019 and 2020), but from the Touring, in 2018, thanks to Gabriele Tarquini.

The driver from Abruzzo – with four world titles in the touring disciplines – was the “deus ex machina” in the historic triumph for Hyundai, having played a fundamental role in the development of the first car for track racing ever created by the brand, i30 N TCRwhich has been able to win since its debut the drivers’ “and constructors’ titles” and must be repeated the following year with those pilots (led by Norbert Michelisz).

Today Tarquini – the last December ended his racing career at the age of 59 – continues to be part of the Hyundai Motorsport family it recently became team leader in the WTCR department. And the outlook for the current season is rosy as the brand leads both drivers and manufacturers, thanks Mikel Azcona and to Elantra N TCR by the BRC team.

A new picture

“All this Hyundai needs to create its own sporty image. Let’s remember that Hyundai is a brand new brandwas born after me in 1967. This is the first time I have driven with a house that is younger than me,” jokes Tarquini. “Compared to historical brands, Hyundai is a child, he did not have a sporting tradition. Until 15 years ago, the House was addressed to a completely different audience. It was known for its reliability, for the relationship between quality and price, for 5-year warranty , in short for other things”.

“It is clear that there has been an important effort, because participating in competitions costs a lot, but it has a return. If we think about the TCR rules, for example, Hyundai has created cars that can drive all over the world, in national touring series and regional, and which compares with the best brands on the market. to confirm a sporty, young image, something that previously struggled to have. Today, Hyundai is committed to motorsport like few others. Outside of Formula 1, there are few manufacturers that invest as much in racing as Hyundai”.

In the future there is electrification

Over the next few years, racing touring – whose cars are based on road models – will have to deal with the new market trends, starting from electrification prevailing. A first experiment in this sense was started with ETCRworld championship for electric touring cars, in which Hyundai participates with a Veloster N zero emissions, and is currently second out of three teams in the constructors’ championship after the Vallelunga race smiled on its driver Azcona.

“ETCR is a series that goes into the future. These are rear wheel drive cars, which can deliver around 600 horsepower. In addition to being high performing, they have very advanced technology. WTCR itself will adopt electrification. From next year, the WTCR will be hybrid, as is already the case in the WRC, because most road cars are now hybrids. These are developments that will then lead to tomorrow’s tourism series, e.g Hyundai intends to be ahead” concludes Tarquini.

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