New Generation Hyundai i20 WRC revealed as Hyundai Motorsport previews a third season at the teams 2016 launch event.
December 9, 2015 – Hyundai Motorsport today revealed its New Generation i20 WRC during a launch event for media and guests at the teams factory in Alzenau. The car will be used in our third season of WRC competition by drivers Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville.
The venue for the launch was significant as it will soon be Hyundai Motorsports customer racing headquarters. From this base we will supply teams around the world with our new R5 rally car that is also based on the New Generation i20.
The reveal marks a new chapter in Hyundai Motorsport history as we build on two successful WRC seasons and approach our third. In 2014, we took the original i20 WRC to an historic one-two finish in Germany. In 2015, we scored four podiums and finished third in the Manufacturers Championship after a season-long battle for second place.
2015 marked the start of a year-long test and development programme for this new car, based on the road-going New Generation Hyundai i20. The new WRC car has already been through 8,000km of testing and has already proven to be quicker than the previous model, with the team’s drivers also praising improved drivability.
The new car is a product of Hyundai Motorsport evolution since 2013. Our young team has already established itself in the WRC community and looks to continue this in 2016 by fighting at the front at every event in a renewed Championship challenge.
“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, said Team Principal Michel Nandan. We are entering an exciting phase in our journey, which I think will reinforce our commitment and ambition in the competitive WRC community. We have come a long way since our inaugural 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, we 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 enter three cars into every 2016 WRC round. Dani, Hayden and Thierry will take on a full season that features a new event in China and finale in Australia. They will share the #3, #4 and #20 numbers and this ability to change will provide us with a flexible strategy. Hayden will drive the 2015 model for the Rallye Monte-Carlo season opener, which he hasnt contested before, then join Dani and Thierry with a new car from Rally Sweden.
“We have worked with Dani, Hayden and Thierry for two seasons now, continued Michel, so it is a real benefit to continue with them all into 2016 with the New Generation i20 WRC. They have all experienced the new car and given positive reviews, so I’m looking forward to seeing them on the stages this season. We have a strong pool of drivers with a range of experience and strengths. We will not constrain ourselves by fixing specific car line-ups at each rally, instead assembling the best composition for each event to maximise our Championship chances. All three drivers will contest all rounds, including the rally in China that will be new for everyone. They will have equal opportunities in the Drivers’ Championship. We strongly believe this is the best approach in our third season and we know the drivers will deliver to the best of their abilities in each rally. I’m convinced we have the most versatile driver line-up in WRC and we want to use that to our advantage.”
“I’m very motivated and can’t wait to start another season with Hyundai Motorsport behind the wheel of the New Generation i20 WRC, said Dani. We had a reasonable season overall in 2015; we showed good speed and set some promising times, though on a few rallies our final position didn’t reflect our pace during the event. We will keep working hard in 2016 to show what we are capable of achieving. We will take our experience into next year aiming always to be fighting for top positions and hopefully battling for wins. I have a lot of faith in the New Generation i20 WRC, a car with a completely new philosophy to the one we’ve used up to now – better and faster, with a good engine and chassis. I believe 2016 will be a good year for me and for the team!”
“Everyone in the team is looking forward to an exciting 2016, agreed Hayden. With the combination of the new car and another year of experience, 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, the car has been a big step up in all areas from the previous car. It really suits my driving style better. While testing has been very positive, we never really know 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.”
Im really looking forward to the new season my third with Hyundai Motorsport, commented Thierry. It will be a fresh start for me as 2015 was a difficult year in which I had some bad luck and mistakes. I come out of it stronger and more motivated than ever and Im eager to start the season with our New Generation i20 WRC. The objective for us will always be the same, to be as close as possible to the top and hopefully to fight for some victories along the season. I have a lot of confidence in the new car – its all new compared to the current version and Im positive we will be closer to our main rivals.
Todays launch also showed the new livery for the New Generation i20 WRC. Shell and Mobis both stand out on the new design as our title partners. They continue to provide the name for our two team entries Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team.
We also bring back rising Dutch star Kevin Abbring as our test driver. On top of his development work on the 2017 WRC car and the upcoming R5, Kevin will take part in a number of 2016 rounds in a fourth car.
The R5 customer motorsport project sees a development phase in early 2016 and homologation in mid-2016, with opening plan to start taking orders in the second half of 2016.
“It’s going to be a very busy year developing the 2017 WRC car and new R5, acknowledged Kevin. I’m happy my work as test driver has been highly appreciated. We work together very hard to achieve Hyundai Motorsport’s goals and it’s great to be part of it. For someone like me, with a limited WRC experience, it’s a great help to do as much testing as possible between events. R5 development will mean more driving this year and I can use my recent experience to make a better car. I’ve learned a lot in the rallies so far but on the other hand it has been hard to show potential when only contesting some of the rounds. I’m really pleased by the trust the team has in me, and I’m looking forward to what’s coming!”
Our immediate focus is of course on Januarys season opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo, where the New Generation i20 WRC will be taken into the fierce contest for the 2016 Championship.
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