Veteran motorsport engineer Michael Nanadan has been named team principle of the new Hyundai WRC team.
At the top of Nandan’s job description will be overseeing the development of the Hyundai i20 WRC vehicle, which is being readied to take on the VW Polo R and the Citroen DS3 starting in 2014.
Nandan, 54, got his start with Peugeot in the latter part of the 1980′s, and has since spent time with Opel, Toyota, Suzuki, as well as his most recent position with the French motor sport federation.
His job with Hyundai, though, represents the first time he will tackle the team principle position.
A version of the Hyundai WRC car already exists, having been built and tested in South Korea, but with Nandan now in place, Hyundai plans to go full-speed ahead with the testing and development of the new i20 WRC car.
The plan is to run the car in one race this year before committing to a full race schedule in 2014.
Hyundai i20 WRC test drive
The team drivers will be revealed later, but experienced driver Petter Solberg is being widely tipped as the front-runner for the job.
It is believed that the WRC program will eventually lead to more performance models hitting the open road.
When asked about Hyundai’s decision to enter the WRC, Tak Uk Im, Executive Vice President & COO of Hyundai Motor, said that excitement was high, but that the goal was to go out and win, rather than just compete.
He also said that he believed Hyundai and WRC to be a great match, with the racing experience sure to help the company make improvements in performance and handling across the entire lineup.
Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, a subsidiary of the company, will run the Hyundai World Rally Team from their HQ in Alzenau, Germany. That location is just outside of Frankfurt, which is the home of the Hyundai European HQ.
Hyundai have had previous WRC experience, running a team from 2000 to 2003. The car used was THE aCCENT wrc run by British team Motor Sports Developments.
By contrast, the all-new Hyundai i20 WRC car is fully in-house, much like the Volkswagen team.