Hyundai Motorsport Building 6 i20 WRC Cars
Hyundai Motorsport has already announced that they are committed to a minimum of 3 years in the World Rally Championship starting next year, but they also admit time is an issue.
The problem that Hyundai faces is that they are forced to start their program from scratch.
That puts them somewhat behind the 8-ball when compared to their competitors such as Volkswagen and Citroen.
Thomas Villette, Hyundai Motorsport public relations manager, admits that the decision to enter into the 2014 WRC without a structure in place was one that was made intentionally. He also noted that this makes Hyundai unlike any other competitor out there right now.
Villette said that they running a testing program at the same time as searching for a team, with the goal to be ready for Monte Carlo in January.
By the end of October, Hyundai will have performed test runs using a pair of specially developed 3-door i20 hatchbacks.
It is not known yet which two of the three drivers currently on staff with Hyundai Motorsports will pilot the two cars. Former Australian WRC driver Chris Atkinson is just one of the men in the mix.
The facility used to house Hyundai’s global motorsport division is a huge building in Alzenau, Germany. It is in fact so big, it would also be able to house GT racing and Formula One programs.
The facility was opened in January and is home to 80 employees. That number is expected to grow to 150 by January 2014.
It is believed that Hyundai will invest in the region of $30 on the WRC program during season one. That is a good deal less than the $80 million that Volkswagen is believed to be spending.
Each of the six WRC i20 cars currently in production at the facility cost in the region of 500,000 euros each.
Despite time being a major factor, Hyundai seems pleased with the testing that has happened so far.
They claim that 3000 km have already been covered, with further testing taking place every 2 weeks to add to that number.
According to Hyundai Motorsport team manager Alain Petasse, the team is keeping its expectations for the season at a modest level. They are looking at building a strong team and perhaps grabbing a couple of podiums along the way. [Caradvice]