Hyundai Motorsport has kicked off the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) by unveiling its brand new car, the New Generation i20 WRC, in front of 200 assembled media and guests at the team’s factory in Alzenau, Germany.
“Everyone in the team is looking forward to an exciting 2016,” commented Hayden Paddon. “With the combination of the new car and another year of experience under our belts, I am confident we can fight at the front – especially in the gravel events. 2016 is another step towards our ultimate goal and part of that process is winning our first rally. I’m excited about the New Generation i20 WRC.
“In the tests we have carried out so far, the car has been a big step up in all areas from the previous version, and it really suits my driving style better. While testing has been very positive, we never really know quite how we will stack up against the competition until we are on the stages – so in that regard we are all anxious to get the season started.”
The presentation venue was particularly poignant and took place in the heart of what will be Hyundai Motorsport’s customer racing headquarters as the birthplace of the company’s upcoming R5 rally car, which is also based on the New Generation i20.
The formal reveal of the five-door New Generation i20 WRC marks the opening of an exciting new chapter in the short history of Hyundai Motorsport, building on two successful seasons in the competitive WRC environment. In that time, the team has undertaken a steep learning curve to establish itself as a genuine competitor against tough opposition.
Following its foundation-laying year in 2013, the team quickly developed a brand new WRC car from scratch for its first season of competition. The car proved to be both quick and reliable, securing a maiden win in Germany. >From there, the team enjoyed a more consistent second season, scoring four podium finishes and fighting for second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship right up to the season finale.
In early 2015, the team committed to a year-long test and development programme for a WRC specification of the road-going New Generation i20, with its competitive debut set for Rallye Monte-Carlo 2016. The New Generation i20 WRC has already accumulated 8,000km of testing prior to today’s launch, and has proven to be quicker than its predecessor, with the team’s drivers also praising improved drivability.
The new car is the result of the Hyundai Motorsport’s evolution since 2013 and although the team is still young, it is far more established in the WRC community. This growth is also reflected in the team’s bolder ambitions for the 2016 season, namely to fight at the front in every stage and to mount a heightened Championship assault.