Hyundai Motorsport has unveiled its full team line-up as the manufacturer gears up for its debut in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at Monte Carlo.
Going up against vastly more experienced WRC competitors, the team knows that it has a steep learning curve, but it certainly relishes the challenge.
“We have worked tremendously hard to get where we are today and to be able to launch our new WRC team to the world,” said Michel Nandan, team principal of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH. “In less than one year, we have built and tested a brand-new WRC-specification car, the Hyundai i20 WRC.”
“It’s a huge accomplishment, but we know that we have a lot to learn in our first season. Our aims for 2014 are realistic: we want to finish each rally with both cars and build up a database of information and experience so we can develop ourselves into prospective rally winners in the future. The complete line-up for 2014 includes a new title partner in Shell, which will see the team named Hyundai Shell World Rally Team.
The multi-year partnership will see Shell Helix-Ultra logos adorn the Hyundai i20 WRC at all WRC events.
“Shell is delighted to be returning to the WRC in 2014 with Hyundai,” said Colin Abraham, Shell vice president marketing (fuels and lubricants). Thierry Neuville made his first public appearance in Hyundai Motorsport colours as the team’s lead driver, while Juho Hänninen, who will drive the second i20 WRC at selected events, was also present. It was also announced that both Dani Sordo and Chris Atkinson will partner Neuville at several events during the season, with Sordo running on Rally Monte Carlo and Atkinson confirmed for Rally Australia.
Hyundai Motor Company also used the occasion of its WRC launch to announce that Hyundai ‘N’ will be used to symbolise Hyundai’s high-performance technology on both the i20 WRC car and future mass-produced high-performance cars. Linked directly to the company’s renewed involvement in WRC, ‘N’ brings together Hyundai Motor’s technology and innovation with the learning from motorsport to provide a new experience for customers.
Representing the company’s passion for high performance, ‘N’ takes inspiration in both name and spirit from the Namyang R&D Centre that has collaborated with Hyundai Motorsport on the development of the i20 WRC. The Namyang R&D Centre is at the heart of the technological innovation and development that serves as the driving force behind Hyundai’s growth as a global brand.
The WRC team has come a long way since the first iteration of the i20 WRC car made an appearance at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012. Hyundai Motorsport has developed into a fully functioning motorsport team from scratch, defying the odds to build, test and prepare two rally cars ready to compete in 2014. With more than 90 staff from 18 nationalities, made up of motorsport specialists and experienced Hyundai personnel, the team represents the perfect mix of Hyundai and motorsport ideals.
In just over one month’s time, Hyundai Motorsport is set to add a new dimension to the FIA World Rally Championship by competing in its debut event of 2014.