Hyundai has confirmed its intention to return to the World Rally Championship with the unveiling today of a new rally concept based on its i20 hatchback sold overseas. Following its withdrawal from the sport in the last decade, Hyundai has remained committed to establishing an in-house WRC team in Europe and developing a performance rally car.
The new i20, which shares some similarities with the Elantra GT
, is a three-door subcompact, and in rally trim looks rather aggressive. Under the latest WRC regulations, all cars must be derived from 1.6-liter production cars, though in reality few use many of the mainstream parts beyond the base engine architecture and certain body panels.
As with all WRC cars, the i20 WRC is turbocharged and develops around 300 horsepower through four driven wheels via a fully-sequential gearbox.
The WRC is one of the world’s toughest motorsport events, and the i20 rally car has been engineered to overcome the extreme terrains and weather conditions that competitors face, though development work is far from complete.
Hyundai is yet to announce a timeline for its entry to the sport, though by the time it arrives there will be some serious competition. MINI is set to compete next year with its own Countryman rally car, and Volkswagen will be there too with its Polo rally car
If that wasn’t enough, there are reports Toyota will be entering the WRC
with a Yaris-based car, and even Fiat could turn up
with an Abarth 500. Sadly, there’s a strong chance that top competitor Citroen may have to pull out due to financial constraints.