Hyundai has been testing a version of its current i30 hatchback (an Elantra GT in the United States) at the Nürburgring for the past year.
Initially thought to be a prototype for a model from the Hyundai N performance division based on the the current i30, the car is now thought to be a test mule fitted with elements destined for a Hyundai N-enhanced i30 to be launched as part of the next-generation i30 range.
As part of the development program, the tester, which Hyundai calls a "development car," will be entered in this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours. The grueling race is scheduled for this weekend.
Hyundai says around 40 percent of the development car is new, including the engine, transmission and suspension. The development car is also sporting a significantly wider track than the stock i30.
Hyundai i30 N development car
One of the main elements to be tested is the new engine. It’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that will soon feature in some hot Hyundais.
“This Nürburgring 24h race provides the ideal test bed for our motorsport-inspired N sub-brand development and a key part of our ‘born at Namyang, honed at Nürburgring’ performance car ethos,” Hyundai N boss Albert Biermann said in a statement. “The technological inspiration and experience gained from this extreme testing will accelerate our development of high-performance, fun-to-drive N models.”
Prior to joining Hyundai in 2014, Biermann was the top engineer at BMW M. He now heads engineering for Hyundai, including at Hyundai N, and is based at the Korean automaker’s Namyang R&D center located in Hwaseong, Korea.
Hyundai will also enter a regular i30 and Veloster in the upcoming Nürburgring 24 Hours. These will be production-spec models fitted with a few mods required for racing.