Hyundai Motorsport revealed its new-generation i20 WRC during a launch event for media and guests at the team’s factory in Alzenau. The car will be used in their third season of WRC competition by drivers Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville.
The venue for the launch was significant as it will soon be Hyundai Motorsport’s customer racing headquarters. From this base, Hyundai will supply teams around the world with their new R5 rally car that is also based on the New Generation i20.
The reveal marks a new chapter in Hyundai Motorsport history as they build on two successful WRC seasons and approach the third. In 2014, Hyundai took the original i20 WRC to an historic one-two finish in Germany. In 2015, the South Korean car manufacturer scored four podiums and finished third in the Manufacturers’ Championship after a season-long battle for second place.
The year 2015 marked the start of a year-long test and development program for this new car, based on the road-going New Generation Hyundai i20. The new WRC car has already been through 8,000 kilometers of testing and has already proven to be quicker than the previous model, with the team’s drivers also praising improved drivability.
The new car is a product of Hyundai Motorsport evolution since 2013. The young team has already established itself in the WRC community and looks to continue this in 2016 by fighting at the front at every event in a renewed championship challenge.
“It is a special moment for all of us at Hyundai Motorsport to reveal the New Generation i20 WRC to the world today in our own home,” said Team Principal Michel Nandan.
“We are entering an exciting phase in our journey, which I think will reinforce our commitment and ambition in the competitive WRC community. We have come a long way since our inaugural year, and our performance in last season’s Championship gave us renewed optimism for the future. The New Generation i20 WRC is the product of a full year of development and, with a more experienced team, we now raise our objectives to be more confident to fight at the front. The competition remains strong and we know our manufacturer rivals will not ease in their pursuit for victory but we want to take the fight to them in 2016,” he added.
Three cars for every round
Hyundai Motorsport will enter three cars into every 2016 WRC round. Dani, Hayden and Thierry will take on a full season that features a new event in China and finale in Australia. They will share the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 20 numbers and this ability to change will provide the team with a flexible strategy. Hayden will drive the 2015 model for the Rallye Monte-Carlo season opener, which he hasn’t contested before, then join Dani and Thierry with a new car from Rally Sweden.
“We have worked with Dani, Hayden and Thierry for two seasons now,” added Michel, “so it is a real benefit to continue with them all into 2016 with the New Generation i20 WRC. They have all experienced the new car and given positive reviews, so I’m looking forward to seeing them on the stages this season. We have a strong pool of drivers with a range of experience and strengths. We will not constrain ourselves by fixing specific car line-ups at each rally, instead assembling the best composition for each event to maximize our championship chances. All three drivers will contest all rounds, including the rally in China that will be new for everyone. They will have equal opportunities in the Drivers’ Championship. We strongly believe this is the best approach in our third season and we know the drivers will deliver to the best of their abilities in each rally. I’m convinced we have the most versatile driver line-up in WRC and we want to use that to our advantage.”
Hyundai’s immediate focus is the season opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo, where the new-generation i20 WRC will be taken into the fierce contest for the 2016 championship.