- The Hyundai Motorsport built i30 N TCR helped Gabriele Tarquini to claim the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) drivers’ title in Macau on Sunday
- YMRacing secured the teams’ crown to make it a double success for Hyundai Motorsport customers in the season finale
- Hyundai has quickly become an impressive force in circuit racing with its i30 N TCR playing a key role in technology transfer onto high performance road vehicles.
Across the ten-event WTCR series, Hyundai Motorsport’s i30 N TCR has established itself as the car to beat, setting the standard often in spite of the numerous Balance of Performance restrictions imposed on the vehicle. Customer teams amassed 13 victories in total between four drivers – Tarquini, Norbert Michelisz (BRC Racing Team), Thed Björk and Yvan Muller (YMRacing). In addition, the i30 N TCR tallied 11 pole positions and 14 fastest laps during the year.
For Hyundai Motorsport, the drivers’ title has particular poignancy as Tarquini himself had led testing and development of the i30 N TCR following the company’s move into circuit racing at the start of 2017. That the Italian claimed five WTCR wins, five fastest laps and two poles underscored his comfort and pace inside the cockpit of the car.
Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing department began as an offshoot from its ambitious FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) activities in 2015. Initially focused on development of an R5-specification rally car based on the i20, the company made a bold decision to consider a circuit-racing program.
Design work for the i30 N TCR began in September 2016. Testing and development continued throughout the following year, with the car completing more than 7,000km at circuits across Europe. In September 2017, the i30 N TCR made its competitive debut in the TCR International Series, claiming a sensational win at the Zhejiang Circuit in China.
In its debut season customer teams competed with the i30 N TCR all over the world, in addition to the maiden WTCR campaign. Up to eight i30 N TCR competed in TCR Europe during 2018, winning five of the first ten races. Customers are also running in TCR Italy, TCR Germany and TCR UK, as well as the Pirelli World Challenge in the USA, where the team won two championships. A pair of i30 N TCR also competed in the Nürburgring 24 Hours in May, winning pole position for the TCR class and finishing on the class podium.
These latest WTCR titles reinforce Hyundai’s growing reputation in international motorsport. Its motorsport strategy, led by Hyundai Motorsport, is positively influencing the Korean car manufacturer’s road models. Success in circuit racing, as well as the international rallying program, has played an integral part in honing the corporation’s high performance N brand, and has more recently fed into Hyundai’s High Performance Vehicle and Motorsport Division.
Customer Racing perfectly epitomises N’s brand values of vehicle performance and human emotion. Hyundai Motorsport has embodied the spirit of N through its customer support, determination and dedication to achieve its goals. From humble beginnings, Hyundai’s i30 N TCR has taken on tough opposition, tackled new territories and emerged with its most significant milestone to date: debut FIA World Touring Car Cup titles.
Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing activities have truly captured the spirit of Hyundai and our N high-performance brand with the performance of the i30 N TCR. The successes of our customers this year, in particular YMRacing and Gabriele Tarquini taking the maiden WTCR titles, have been fantastic to follow. Motorsport and high performance go hand in hand at Hyundai; we will now focus on transferring that winning feeling onto customers around the world and to enhance their enjoyment of driving Hyundai vehicles.
When we set out on our Customer Racing mission, firstly with an R5-spec rally car and then with the i30 N TCR, we never dreamed that we would be celebrating titles with our customers so soon. What Gabriele has achieved in WTCR this season is phenomenal and his contribution to our circuit-racing program has been truly inspirational. He is the epitome of motorsport; that is having a direct positive influence on how we operate at Hyundai Motorsport and on Hyundai’s global brand. All of our customers have demonstrated the strengths of our i30 N TCR this season, not only in WTCR but also around the world in other TCR series. We are grateful to all of them for their support, and I’d take this opportunity to thank everyone at Alzenau for allowing us to prepare vehicles for our customers that allow them to fight for titles. These are now firm foundations from which we will continue to grow Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing division.