Hyundai has completed the first test with the new i20 model that it plans to use for its return to the World Rally Championship next season.
Having worked to prepared the new car at its headquarters in Alzenau, the team completed a shakedown test at a private testing ground in mid-May followed by the first comprehensive test of the car last week – with the team working on different set-ups and data collection.
While all key areas of the car's performance were evaluated by engineers, there was a major focus on collecting feedback on the i20 WRC's 1.6 litre turbocharged engine as part of the continuing development programme for the powertrain, with a total of 550km of running over the course of three days.
No mention was made by the team of who was at the wheel of the car for its initial runs.
“It has been a busy few months here at Hyundai Motorsport as we prepared to kick-off our testing programme to get ready for the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship,” team principal Michel Nandan said.” After starting our operations from scratch at the Alzenau factory in early January, we have been developing the car and now we can put the theory into practice. The car is on the road and I have to admit it was quite an emotional moment to see the latest specification of the i20 WRC in action for the first time.
“The learning from the first tests for me is quite positive. I think we are starting from a good base that we can use to carry on working. This was crucial considering the tight schedule we have until the end of the year. We have now a lot of useful feedback to digest for the next steps of our preparation.”
Nandan added that the team would now embark on further testing on a range of different surfaces to ensure that the new car is fully prepared for its debut in Monte Carlo next year.
“We have an intensive testing schedule for the rest of 2013 which will take us to different venues across Europe, to evaluate the i20 WRC in different conditions and on different terrains which reflect the variety of circumstances we will encounter in the World Rally Championship next year,” he said.
“We are not disclosing our specific test venues or the names of the various drivers we will have but we will ensure that every aspect of the car's performance is put to the test and thoroughly evaluated without leaving anything to chance.”