Meet our Customer Racing Operations Leader
Andrew Johns joined our team in December 2015 as one of the first people to join our fledgling Customer Racing department. As Operations Leader, Andrew plays an important role in supporting our customers competing with our R5 and TCR cars and providing them with the tools they need to be successful. In 2019 our customers claimed 18 titles, 129 wins, 305 podiums and 566 stage wins around the world.
Andrew, what is the role of the Customer Racing department?
“The Customer Racing department is helping us to showcase Hyundai’s high performance capabilities in its road-going cars. We produce cars designed to R5 and TCR specifications intended for sale directly for customers, who can use them to compete on stages and circuits around the world.”
What is the scope of your responsibility as Customer Racing Operations Leader?
“My job is to sell our championship winning cars! I have some input in the technical aspects of our R5 and TCR cars and their specifications, to make sure our engineers understand what our customers require from our car and that everyone is aligned. Customers will sometimes call me with all sorts of wonderful queries, and though I may not always know the answer, I know where to go to in order to get it.”
2019 was an incredibly successful year for Hyundai Motorsport customers – do you have any highlights?
The highlight would have to be our Customer Racing presentation in November, where we invited TCR and R5 drivers and teams to our headquarters in Alzenau and we celebrated their notable achievements. We had teams from America, Central Europe and Russia join us, and it was a great opportunity to meet our customers in person and pay tribute to their successes.”
How important are our customers’ successes to Hyundai Motorsport?
“Primarily, it’s helping us to promote Hyundai as a high performance automotive brand to a global audience, and showcasing the performance of our R5 and TCR cars that we’ve built in our Customer Racing workshop in Alzenau. It helps us to further grow our business; when our cars win a rally or a race, it attracts the attention of other teams and drivers who might then enquire about our Customer Racing offerings.”
What was your first experience of motorsport?
“It’s too long ago to remember the very first experience, but no doubt it would have involved standing in Clumber Park with my dad watching Group B rally cars competing in the Lombard RAC Rally. I would have been probably five or six years old. I don’t remember a specific moment where I knew I wanted to work in motorsport, but I did have a fascination with anything with wheels!”
When did you join us at Hyundai Motorsport? How has the Customer Racing department evolved during your time with us?
“I started in December 2015, and I walked through the door into reception at the exact same time as Andrea Adamo who was on his first day too. We met later that morning in the Customer Racing workshop. It was empty except for the first workbench and one bodyshell – not even a complete car. Andrea and I were there looking at the bodyshell together, discussing the challenge ahead of us. We’ve seen the department grow up in terms of the number of people, the infrastructure we’ve got, the cars we’ve built and sold. We now have six or eight R5 cars and the same number of TCR cars being built at the same time in the workshop.”
Outside of our team, what do you like to do in your free time?
“I like road cycling, I follow the sport and it’s a good way to keep fit. I also play golf – if I get the chance, I follow the golf and occasionally get down to the driving range in Gründau. As an Englishman working in Germany, going home to see family and friends is something I do when I have free time and something I look forward to.”
What has been your proudest moment?
“The proudest moments for me are working with the younger drivers and seeing talent rise. We are providing tools and resources to help bring on some interesting new drivers. Last year we gave some drivers the opportunity to drive an R5 car in the British Rally Championship to try and further their careers. We have given prizes to junior drivers to drive an iconic stage in Kielder Forest to get to grips with the car, and a cash prize to go towards renting a Hyundai i20 R5 car to compete in Wales Rally GB.
It’s not always just about providing opportunities or financial support; we can also support drivers who might be struggling to identify how they can move their careers forward to the next level– maybe they don’t quite have everything in place to extract their full potential. Seeing their development and supporting them gives me a real buzz.”