- Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse have revealed the livery for the latter’s pair of Hyundai Elantra N TCR for the upcoming FIA WTCR season
- The design was unveiled as part of an online live team launch in Cherasco, Italy featuring Team Principal Gabriele Rizzo and drivers Norbert Michelisz and Mikel Azcona
- The event was just the latest step in a busy pre-season as testing continues in preparation for the start of the campaign at the Pau Ville street circuit in May.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and BRC Racing Team today took the covers off the Elantra N TCR that will race in this year’s WTCR – FIA Touring Car Cup under the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse banner.
Drivers Norbert Michelisz and Mikel Azcona, together with BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Team Principal Gabriele Rizzo, Hyundai Motorsport Deputy Team Principal Julien Moncet, and Hyundai Motosport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Cisotti, revealed the car during a live event at Palazzo Salmatoris in the centre of Cherasco, Italy – close to the team’s main workshop.
The design for the 2022 season carries the familiar red, dark blue, and Performance Blue colours of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing. Michelisz will again run the #5 car – as he has done in each of his four previous WTCR campaigns with the team, save for the season following the title triumph that earned him the #1 place. Azcona, in his first year racing a Hyundai, will continue with #96, which has brought him so much success elsewhere in TCR competition.
The livery reveal was the latest step in a busy pre-season for the team as they prepare for the first round of the year at the Pau Ville street track (7-8 May). Following their confirmation as Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing drivers in February, both Michelisz and Azcona have been busy testing the Elantra N TCR as they and the team strive for any advantage to take into the closely contested series.
After running at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in late February, the team has since visited several tracks around Europe to gain maximum experience before the start of the competitive season. The initial testing gave Azcona his first laps in the Elantra N TCR – the Spaniard was immediately happy with the car and was quick to adapt to handling of the Alzenau, Germany-built package.
Michelisz, now in a new role as the more experienced driver at the team, was instrumental in helping his new teammate during his early sessions with the car, while also getting important seat-time himself after the winter months away from the track.
With testing focusing on venues the team will visit during the coming campaign, the running allowed them to fine-tune the balance of the Elantra N TCR for the specific tracks, while also understanding more of how the chassis reacts to different set-up changes. The information gained from the test will be added to that of the full 2021 season with the car, putting them in position to once again challenge for race wins from the opening weekend, and the title at the end of the year.
The live event in Cherasco was a great way to officially launch our customer’s WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season with the Hyundai Elantra N TCR and Norbert Michelisz and Mikel Azcona. BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse obviously have a great driver line-up for the year. Being part of the event was a great opportunity to meet with Gabriele Rizzo and the rest of the team as they continue their preparations for the season. With our Customer Racing support engineers, they have been able to complete some all-important testing in the last few months which will be invaluable when the racing starts. The WTCR grid is always incredibly close and the margins of victory are very tight. The extra work the team and both drivers have done, together with the added year of experience with the Elantra N TCR after 2021, will hopefully put Hyundai cars at the front of the pack when the racing gets underway.
I’m really looking forward to the new WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season. I will be my first with Hyundai as the more experienced driver in the team, which is exciting for me even though it’s not a situation I’ve been in often before, as I always feel I perform better when I have more responsibility and more pressure on me. Certainly Gabriele’s driving will be missed at the team, but I think Mikel is one of the best TCR drivers around. I have known him for a few years, and even though our partnership as teammates is still very new, I am sure it will become just as successful as mine and Gabriele’s has been in previous seasons. For me, winning the WTCR title for a second time has to be the goal. The Hyundai Elantra N TCR is a great car – we know that from last year – so there is no reason not to believe I can achieve that.
The last few months have been very busy. Obviously my announcement as a Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing driver created a lot of interest from people, but for me it was important to stay focused on my first tests with the Hyundai Elantra N TCR. When I got into the car in Aragon, immediately I was very comfortable with the balance of the chassis, and able to work well with Norbi and the team. After racing against Hyundai cars for some many years I have high expectations, but everything so far has been great. We’ve been able to do quite a lot of testing – which I’ve not had the opportunity to do for the last few years – so I feel like I’m in a very strong position to the start the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season at Pau in early May.