Hyundai made its World Rally Championship comeback this year using a new rally car based on its i20 subcompact sold overseas. The company hasn’t fared all that well, having taken home just one win versus the 10 Volkswagen has notched up, but Hyundai is in for the long term and plans to launch a new rally car next season based on the all-new i20 (pictured below) unveiled last week at the 2014 Paris Auto Show.

Hyundai recently started testing its 2015 i20 WRC, with French driver Bryan Bouffier behind the wheel. The aim of the initial shakedown was to check all systems and to start collecting valuable data for upcoming development tests. The team will continue development of the car with a series of tests scheduled until the end of 2014 and throughout the next season.

The new car has been designed from scratch. It's longer, lower and wider than the car it replaces, and its engine, transmission and most other components are all new.

“It’s always an important moment when you take a car to the road for the first time and this one was no exception,” Michel Nandan, team principal for Hyundai’s WRC efforts, said in a statement. “We have been working on the development of our future WRC car for some time now and we were finally able to put the first prototype on its wheels last month.”

Nandan also said that his team was in no rush to get the car ready and will continue to field the current i20 WRC in the meantime.

Toyota has also started testing a new rally car for the WRC based on its Yaris subcompact, but doesn’t expect to have it ready until 2016—at the earliest. Volkswagen is expected to remain dominant next season but we should see a stronger Hyundai team thanks to its new car, which has benefited from the data and experience accumulated over the past season.

2015 Hyundai i20

2015 Hyundai i20


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