Michel NandanEnlarge Photo
Just as the 2013 World Rally Championship kicks off, with newcomer Volkswagen already achieving some success, Hyundai has made some announcements about its campaign plans for 2014.
It’s only been a few months since the Korean automaker confirmed its return to international motorsport, but now it’s revealed that WRC veteran Michel Nandan will serve as team principal for its new team.
The Frenchman, who has held key technical positions on the world rally stage since the mid-1990s, is believed to already be overseeing development of a new WRC race car based on the Hyundai i20 hatchback sold overseas.
An interim version of the i20 WRC (pictured above) has already begun testing in Korea to enable engineers to undertake component and suspension analysis. Further tests are scheduled throughout 2013, including at Hyundai’s new WRC headquarters in Alzenau, Germany.
If all goes to plan, Hyundai hopes to be ready for the start of the 2014 WRC season.
Hyundai is no stranger to the world of WRC, having participated in the sport from 2000 to 2003. Its return underlines its growth strategy, particularly in Europe where WRC is still very popular.
Additionally, Hyundai boasts that the technology transfer from WRC to road-going vehicles makes competing in the sport a shrewd and logical choice. In particular, the automaker is keen to improve the handling of its vehicles, having gone so far as to open its own Nürburgring test center.