Hyundai Motorsport has kicked off 2016 by unveiling its brand new FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) car, the New Generation i20 WRC. The presentation venue Alzenau, Germany was particularly poignant as this will be Hyundai Motorsport’s customer racing headquarters.
The reveal of the five-door New Generation i20 WRC marks the opening of an exciting new chapter in the short history of Hyundai Motorsport. The new car is the result of the Hyundai Motorsport’s evolution since 2013 and although the team is still young, it is established in the WRC community.
As per WRC regulations, the i20 comes with a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine, producing a heady 300bhp and 295lb ft of torque, running through a four-wheel-drive system with two mechanical diffs both front and rear, paired to a six-speed sequential gearbox. There are some rather large Brembo brakes, air-cooled calipers, 18in alloys for the tarmac stages (15s for the gravel sections), and various tires. Naturally, there is a roll cage, together with a reinforced steel and composite fiber body.
Hyundai Motorsport will field three cars in every round of the 2016 Championship, with Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville all confirmed for a full season of WRC. From Monte-Carlo in January to a new-look season finale in Australia, while also taking in a brand new event in China, the trio of drivers will share the #3, #4 and #20 cars during the season.
Sordo said: “I’m very motivated and can’t wait to start another season with Hyundai Motorsport behind the wheel of the New Generation i20 WRC. We had a reasonable season overall this year; we showed some good speed and set some promising times, although on a few rallies our final position didn’t reflect our pace during the event. For sure we will keep working hard to show what we are capable of achieving. We will take our experience into 2016 aiming always to be fighting for top positions and, hopefully, battling for wins. I have a lot of faith in the New Generation i20 WRC, which is a car with a completely new philosophy compared to the one we’ve used up to now – better and faster, with a good engine and chassis. I believe 2016 will be a good year for me and for the team!”
Paddon said: “Everyone in the team is looking forward to an exciting 2016. With the combination of the new car and another year of experience under our belts, I am confident we can fight at the front – especially in the gravel events. 2016 is another step towards our ultimate goal and part of that process is winning our first rally. I’m excited about the New Generation i20 WRC. In the tests we have carried out so far, the car has been a big step up in all areas from the previous version, and it really suits my driving style better. While testing has been very positive, we never really know quite how we will stack up against the competition until we are on the stages – so in that regard we are all anxious to get the season started.”
Neuville said: “I’m really looking forward to the new season –my third with Hyundai Motorsport. It will be like a fresh start for me as 2015 was a difficult year for me where I had some bad luck and made some mistakes. I come out of it stronger and more motivated than ever and I’m really eager to start the season with our New Generation i20 WRC. The objective for us will be always the same, to be as close as possible to the top and hopefully be able to fight for some victories along the season. I have a lot of confidence in the new car, it’s all new compared to the current version and I’m positive we will be closer to our main rivals.”