Hyundai Motorsport has launched its i20 WRC and with it comes a title sponsor and full driver line up for the 2014 season. Officially known as the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team the outfit will be lead by rising Belgian star and runner-up in the 2013 WRC season Thierry Neuville.
The team will run two cars over the course of 2014 and the second i20 WRC will be shared among three drivers. Finnish driver Juho Hänninen will compete in the bulk of the rallies with Spanish driver Dani Sordo stepping in for Rallye Monte Carlo, while Chris Atkinson will race in his home event at Rally Australia. More opportunities for Sordo and Atkinson to compete next year are likely, but that’s all we have confirmed for now.
You’ll notice a large N on the bonnet of the i20 and the overalls of the crew. This is a new letter used to signify “high performance technologies” used in the WRC car. It pays homage to the company’s Namyang R&D Centre and will also soon be seen on Hyundai’s road cars.
Michel Nandan, Team Principal of Hyundai Motorsport, explains much work has already been done, but the team knows its biggest challenge awaits.
“In less than one year, we have built and tested a brand new WRC-specification car, the Hyundai i20 WRC, and established a professional team and modern motorsport facility,” Nandan said. “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. If all goes well, we will hope to be competing for occasional podiums as the year progresses.”
More detail and photos from Hyundai Motorsport are all yours after the break.