Hyundai’s new WRC entry, based on its popular i20 hatchback, was revealed this morning in advance of its debut in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship at Monte Carlo next month.
The team, officially named Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, also confirmed its drivers; Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Chris Atkinson and Juho Hänninen. Neuville is the team’s lead driver, while Hänninen will drive the second i20 WRC at selected events. Sordo and Atkinson will partner Neuville at several events during the season, with Sordo running on Rallye Monte-Carlo and Atkinson confirmed for Rally Australia.
Hyundai has set realistic targets for its debut season with the primary objective of finishing each rally event with two cars, although they have a tough act to follow in Volkswagen who won the 2013 drivers and manufacturers titles in their debut season.
“In less than one year, we have built and tested a brand new WRC-specification car, the Hyundai i20 WRC, and established a professional team and modern motorsport facility. It’s a huge accomplishment but we know that we have a lot to learn in our first season,” said Team Principal, Michel Nandan.
The launch also marks the return of Shell to the WRC in a multi-year partnership that will see Shell Helix-Ultra logos adorn the Hyundai i20 WRC.
The launch event was held at the home of Hyundai Motor Europe in Offenbach, just a short drive from Hyundai Motorsport’s facility in Alzenau, where final preparations are taking place for the team’s rally debut in just over one month.
Hyundai also used the occasion to announce that Hyundai “N” will be used to symbolise Hyundai’s high performance technology on both the i20 WRC car and future mass-produced high performance road cars. Representing the company’s passion for high performance, “N” takes inspiration in both name and spirit from the Namyang R&D Centre that has collaborated with Hyundai Motorsport in developing the i20 WRC.