New race car to debut in 2017

It’s been four years since Hyundai launched the first i20 WRC at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, and the Korean automaker returned to the same event to showcase the fourth iteration of the rally-spec race car. Developed by the company’s Motorsport division located near the Nurburgring track, the new i20 WRC follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, but makes use of revised aerodynamics and the WRC’s updated regulations.

Set to make its debut in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship, the new i20 WRC is not ready to hit the gravel just yet, but the prototype shown in Paris is almost ready for production and gives a good glimpse at the upcoming race car. Several new features are noticeable at first glance, starting with the redesigned grille, the larger front splitter, the new headlamps with red accents, and the significantly wider front wheel arches. Onto the sides, the massive side skirts form a single piece with the rear wheel arches, while the rear end is highlighted by a large roof wing and a big diffuser under the bumper. The roof scoop, the lightweight wheels, and the aerodynamically enhanced side mirrors round of the exterior.

Needless to say, the 2017 i20 WRC is the most menacing rally car Hyundai has built since its Motorsport program set shop at the Nurburgring.

Under the lightweight shell lurks a revised version of the turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the previous model. Thanks to the new regulations, Hyundai was able to increase output from 300 to a whopping 380 horsepower. The race car also generates more downforce and uses an active central differential, which, according to the company, enables the i20 WRC to compete with longer and wider vehicles.

The final version of the 2017 i20 WRC will be unveiled in December, about a month before the new car makes its official debut at the Rallye Monte Carlo on January 20.

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Why it matters

Hyundai Showcases Latest i20 WRC at Paris Motor Show High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Hyundai i20 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Compared to the road-going i20, the i20 WRC features wildly aggressive styling, a sexier stance, and loads of aerodynamic enhancements.

When talking about rally cars, Hyundai isn’t the first automaker that comes into mind. The Korean brand had very little contact with motorsport in recent years, which is why its initial return to WRC in 2014 was received with skepticism. But Hyundai’s rally program has evolved dramatically since then. Following a fourth place finish in 2014, Hyundai climbed to third in the manufacturers’ standings in 2015. Come 2016, and the Korean team is in second place behind Volkswagen, and although it’s highly unlikely that it will steal the title from the Germans, it’s not far behind. The i20 WRC has already won two races this year and has four more events to demonstrate its abilities on gravel and tarmac. If Hyundai Motorsport will be able to keep it up in 2017, Volkswagen will finally have something to worry about.

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