- Hyundai Motorsport has revealed the new-look Veloster N ETCR and the five-strong driver roster for this year’s FIA ETCR – eTouring Car World Cup
- Drivers Jean-Karl Vernay, Norbert Michelisz and Mikel Azcona will contest the full season with Kevin Ceccon and Nicky Catsburg splitting the final spot on the team during the year
- Pre-season testing with all five drivers has completed a busy off-season of work developing the car, with the support of a refreshed engineering corps responsible for the project.
After being one of the first manufacturers to commit to the ETCR category in 2020 and competing in the first-ever PURE ETCR season, Hyundai Motorsport is moving into the new era of the FIA ETCR – eTouring Car World Cup with renewed energy and a new-look driver line-up.
Five drivers, led by the 2021 runner-up Jean-Karl Vernay, will join the team this season to race the Veloster N ETCR across the seven-event championship. In line with the series’ unique weekend format, the team’s two cars will be shared between two drivers – one in each of the events’ randomly drawn pools.
Alongside Vernay in the team for the season will be his fellow Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing drivers, WTCR team-mates Norbert Michelisz and Mikel Azcona. These will be Michelisz’s first steps into the electric-powered series after becoming one of the standouts in WTCC and WTCR competitions, where he won the 2019 World Cup title with the i30 N TCR.
While a new name to Hyundai Motorsport for this season, Azcona is a familiar name to ETCR followers. In 2021, the Spaniard was the only driver to win two King of the Weekend titles – earned at the first-ever race weekend at Vallelunga and at the Hungaroring – as he finished third in the final standings. His experience in the series’ rear-wheel drive electric powered cars has been all-important throughout testing in helping to guide the development of the Veloster N ETCR, as well as aiding his new team-mates in adapting to the different driving style needed for the 500kW (670hp) machine.
The final spot in the four-driver team will be split between two WTCR race winners with a strong history in Hyundai TCR cars – Kevin Ceccon and Nicky Catsburg.
Ceccon, who is scheduled to compete in the first three rounds of the series, was already a winner in his fourth WTCR weekend following a career in single-seaters, and has since found further success in the incredibly competitive TCR Italy series. In his first full season in the championship, and with the i30 N TCR, he won four races – the most of any driver on the grid – and missed out on the championship by only a single point. His mix of Touring Car and high-powered rear-wheel drive experience is the perfect combination for FIA ETCR competition.
Catsburg, too, has good memories of the i30 N TCR. A winner with the car in WTCR in 2020, he also has a wealth of experience in rear-wheel-drive machinery from a CV studded with victories in some of the biggest endurance races in the world. He will join the team, racing for the first time at Jarama in June.
The Veloster N ETCR proved itself hugely capable during the first year of PURE ETCR racing. The team’s drivers scored wins in every round of the first-ever competitive weekend, and closed out the season delivering Jean-Karl Vernay to the King of the Weekend title at his home event in Pau-Arnos as he narrowly missed out on the overall drivers’ crown.
Now with a full season of racing experience behind them, the task for the Hyundai Motorsport team is to further improve on their previous performance, and challenge for the newly created FIA World Cup title.
As the first all-electric powered car built by Hyundai Motorsport, the Veloster N ETCR always represented a formidable challenge – one that was eagerly taken on and successfully met by the teams of engineers and mechanics working on the project at the company’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany.
The 2022 season marks the first part of the next stage for the project and for Hyundai Motorsport’s ETCR program. No longer is it a new endeavour; a racing engineering challenge for the team. It now has to line up alongside Hyundai Motorsport’s title winning FIA World Rally Championship and successful R5, Rally2, and TCR models designed for customer teams.
To do this, the team have worked non-stop since the flag fell on the last Super Final of the 2021 season. In the workshop, new engineers have joined the project, bringing their own expertise in motorsport – both electric and otherwise – to add to the knowledge already within the team. These new recruits have immediately started working through a busy schedule of pre-season tests to make sure everything is ready for the first races of the fresh campaign at the Pau Ville street circuit in early May.
As a team we can look back on our successes in PURE ETCR with the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR with pride. However, we set high standards for all our projects and we know there is still more performance possible and we want to show this in FIA ETCR in 2022. Since the final round in France last year, our team has been working hard to find the maximum performance from the car ready for the new season. We have added further to an experienced squad of engineers dedicated to the project as we head towards the first races of 2022. We have strengthened our driver line-up for this season with drivers with experience in ETCR and competition, as well as a huge range of other racing series. Their input during pre-season testing has been vital as we work to develop the car ready for a new year of competition. The results from the running we have already completed have been very positive, and there is still more to come before the first competitive weekend. When we line-up in the gates for the opening race of the season we know we will be as well prepared as possible.
I’m very happy to be part of the Hyundai Motorsport team – FIA ETCR is a fantastic series, and the racing is a lot of fun. I’m extremely motivated for the season. As a team we’ve worked hard through the winter to make sure we are ready for the start of the new campaign. Last year we showed that the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR can be competitive on track and we finished strongly with my King of the Weekend title in Pau-Arnos, and for 2022 we should be able to take another big step forward. Personally, I have the experience of the series and the car. I know the balance of the chassis, and what I need to do to be able to challenge for the title once again. However, it already looks as though this is going to be close season – with lots of talented drivers involved with different teams, which is really positive for everyone.
I was following ETCR last year when it shared the weekend with WTCR, and enjoyed watching the close battles on track, so I’m very excited about being able to participate in the series. It will be a completely new experience for me, but I’m very much looking forward to taking my place in FIA ETCR. The preparations have already started, and I immediately felt comfortable driving the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR in testing. It is obviously very different to drive than the TCR machinery I am more used to. The running we’ve done has given me a chance to learn how I need to drive the car, however, there are still some small things for me to improve before the first event at the remaining tests. I feel that I’m in the best possible hands with the Hyundai Motorsport team and can’t wait for the season to start.
I’m super motivated to go ahead into my second season in FIA ETCR – my first with Hyundai Motorsport. The experience I have in the championship gives me an extra boost of confidence to fight again for the title. Last year the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR was very competitive, especially in the second half of the season. We’re well prepared after our testing, where we’ve been able to develop the car as a team between all the drivers and the engineers. I’m delighted to be able to race in Jarama this year, my favourite track from my country. It’s going to be a special weekend for me having a warm support from my family, friends and all the Spanish fans. At the same time I’m very happy to race in Korea which will be another special weekend.
I'm very excited to join Hyundai Motorsport for the 2022 FIA ETCR season. I will give all my support to the team to achieve great results, and though my role is only part-time in the series, I will race 100% every session on track. The Hyundai Veloster N ETCR is demanding to drive, but impressive considering how quickly the technology and engineering of electric vehicles have progressed in the last few years. The car and driving style are very different compared to the TCR, it reminds me a bit of the rear-wheel driving experiences I had in my career before. I’m happy to add Pau to the list of street circuits I have raced at, which includes Monaco and Macau, where I have very sweet memories of podiums in GP2, GP3, and WTCR. I watched the first season from home, and the series’ format is also something unique and very entertaining for spectators, whom I hope to see again soon in the paddocks!
I have always wanted to be a part of ETCR, a relatively new racing series with great future possibilities. To come back to Hyundai Motorsport after a good time with them in the WTCR feels very good, and I thank them for the great opportunity. I am a proper rookie when it comes to electric racing so my first test sessions were very interesting, but I was able to gain the confidence in the car and work alongside my new team-mates. I have confidence in the whole team’s capabilities to develop the car, so I know that the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR will be very competitive this season, and I’m already looking forward to my first race weekend. The calendar has some very nice tracks on it. I am particularly excited to go to Zolder which is almost a home race for me. I have had some good results there in the past and I am ready to do the same in FIA ETCR.