Hyundai Motorsport has unveiled its all-new i20 WRC ahead of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship at the team’s factory in Alzenau, Germany.
The formal reveal of the five-door New Generation i20 WRC follows an extensive 8,000km of testing, in which the car has proven to be quicker than its predecessor, drawing praise from the team’s drivers in regard to its ‘improved drivability’.
“It is a special moment for all of us at Hyundai Motorsport to reveal the New Generation i20 WRC to the world today in our own home,” commented team principal Michel Nandan. “We are entering an exciting phase in our young team’s journey, which I think will reinforce our commitment and ambition in the competitive WRC community. We have come a long way since our inaugural foundation year, and our performance in last season’s Championship gave us renewed optimism for the future. The New Generation i20 WRC is the product of a full year of development and with a more experienced team of staff, we should now raise our objectives to be more confident to fight at the front. The competition remains strong and we know our manufacturer rivals will not ease in their pursuit for victory but we want to take the fight to them in 2016.”
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. The team will begin its third season with two New Generation i20 WRCs and one previous model at Rallye Monte-Carlo before increasing to three identical cars from Rally Sweden.
All three drivers were present at today’s launch, which revealed a revised livery for the five-door New Generation i20 WRC, as it was shown off in public for the first time. The team’s title partners Shell and Mobis both stand out on the new car, and will continue to be named as part of the two team entries – Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team – with the livery of the latter due to be revealed in early 2016.
The team has also retained the services of rising Dutch star Kevin Abbring, who will remain as Hyundai Motorsport Test Driver. Abbring will contest selected WRC rounds in a fourth car as part of his agreement, but his primary focus will be on managing development of the team’s 2017 WRC car and R5 activities.
The R5 project, falling under the banner of Hyundai Motorsport’s customer racing division, will roll out in the next few weeks. There will be a development phase during the first half of 2016, homologation of the car in mid-2016, and an opening to orders in the second part of the year.