The most powerful and aggressive rally car Hyundai has ever built

Introduced in 2008 as a replacement for the Getz, the Hyundai i20 was redesigned for 2014, when it received a brand-new exterior design with more angular features and a new, turbocharged three-cylinder in addition to revised version of the previous engines. Unlike its predecessor, the second-generation i20 also spawned a race car, marking the company’s return to the World Rally Championship.

Updated for each new competition season since its introduction in 2014, the i20 WRC has been once again re-engineered ahead of the upcoming 2017 World Rally Championship. Although not yet ready to hit the difficult gravel and tarmac courses of the WRC season, Hyundai brought a pre-production version of the new race car at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Much like its predecessors, the i20 WRC is a heavily modified version of the road car, featuring an aggressive aero kit, an FIA-approved interior, and a race-spec engine and transmission. According to Hyundai, prototypes have been tested since April across numerous locations in Europe and in a variety of different conditions. Testing is set to continue toward the end of the year in order to get the car ready ahead of its debut at Rallye Monte Carlo in January 2017.

"The 2017 WRC regulations have allowed all teams to start from a blank page, which has offered us an exciting engineering challenge. The changes will raise the level of entertainment in WRC on stages around the world with wider and more powerful cars. We have been putting our experience from two full seasons of WRC into practice, as we aim to build on our successful 2016 campaign," said Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan.

The final version of the 2017 Hyundai i20 WRC will be revealed by the end of 2016.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai i20 WRC.

Exterior

Hyundai i20 WRC High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Hyundai i20 WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Hyundai i20 WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Unlike the 2016 car, which was based on the five-door version of the i20, the 2017 racer is based on the three-door model. However, that’s not the only feature that sets the two apart. Because the WRC’s technical regulation for 2017 allow for greater aerodynamic freedom, Hyundai Motorsport designers were able to come up with a more aggressive body kit. That’s mostly visible in the front section, where the bumper received a significantly larger splitter and revised canards on each side of the grille. The grille itself is also different. Not only larger, it’s been turned upside down, with the wider section now oriented toward the splitter. The gaping mouth gives the i20 a more menacing appearace.

Because the WRC's technical regulation for 2017 allow for greater aerodynamic freedom, designers were able to come up with a more aggressive body kit

The front and rear fenders, and the side skirts are beefier on the new car, making it wider and most likely generating increased downforce. Around back, the hatch sports a revised roof wing and a new diffuser. The latter sits closer to the ground and features six vertical fins. The new design is rounded off by a roof scoop. We’ve seen this feature on previous WRC prototypes too, but not the 2016 rally car, so it remains to be seen whether it will be kept or not.

Finally, the 2017 i20 WRC debuted a new livery that looks a lot like the camouflage we usually see on test cars. However, the black and white pattern is made the letter "N," which stands for Hyundai’s high-performance brand. The livery also includes black accents on the fenders and roof, as well as red accents in the headlamps and on the rear wing. Hyundai says that this isn’t the final livery, which will be revealed in December 2016.

Interior

As usual, Hyundai had nothing to say about the car’s interior and there are no pictures to run by. However, it’s safe to assume it will be a stripped out version of the road-going car, with only the dashboard to retain its original configuration. The seats, steering wheel, pedals, and gear shifter will be replaced with race-spec units, while the standard instrument cluster will make way for a simpler display for the car’s vital information. An FIA-spec roll cage will round off the no-nonsense, race-spec cabin.

Drivetrain

Hyundai i20 WRC High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The four-pot now cranks out 380 horsepower, an 80-horsepower bump from the 2016 car.

Like it’s predecessor, the 2017 i20 WRC gets its juice from a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. This unit is the standard for the World Rally Championship, with all teams using their own version of the four-banger. Naturally, the 2017 mill received revised internals, more so since the FIA allowed a power increase. The four-pot now cranks out 380 horsepower, an 80-horsepower bump from the 2016 car. Torque figures aren’t available, but it’s safe to assume that the new i20 WRC benefits from at least 270 pound-feet. The previous engine sent 221 pound-feet of twist to the wheels.

The drivetrain also includes a new electronic active central differential. Although other details aren’t yet available, Hyundai likely fitted the car with revised versions of its Magneti Marelli engine control unit, MacPherson struts with adjustable dampers, and ventilated Brembo disc brakes. Much like the previous i20 WRC, the new race car will probably use 18-inch wheels for tarmac races and 15-inch rims for gravel events.

Conclusion

Hyundai i20 WRC High Resolution Exterior
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When Hyundai joined the World Rally Championship back in 2014, very few enthusiasts believed that the South Korean brand had what it takes to defeat the more powerful Volkswagen and Citroen Teams. But after a fourth place finish in its first season, the i20 WRC climbed into third position at the end of 2015, and it’s on its way to a second place finish in 2016. Hyundai is no longer the underdog of the series, and if its three-year progress is any indication, the Korean brand is the only one that can defeat the Volkswagen Polo WRC, which is on its way to secure its fourth consecutive title. Of course, it’s way too early to make predictions, but Volkswagen might finally have a solid rival in 2017, and that’s great news for the World Rally Championship.

  • Leave it
    • * The Volkswagen Polo WRC seems unbeatable

Press Release

Hyundai Motorsport has used the occasion of the Paris Motor Show to present a preview of its 2017 WRC challenger, which will make its competitive debut in next season’s FIA World Rally Championship.

The team, which is currently second in the WRC manufacturers’ classification on 201 points, has been testing its brand new 2017 prototype since April across numerous locations in Europe and in a variety of different conditions.

The car, based on a three-door Hyundai i20, has been developed to meet WRC’s 2017 technical regulations, which have given greater aerodynamic freedom to designers. Hyundai Motorsport has an extensive testing programme lined up in the final part of 2016 in order to further evolve the car ahead of its debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.

WRC regulations for the 2017 season also offer teams more power, an increase to 380HP, more downforce, Electronic Active central differential and the ability to compete with longer and wider vehicles. The combined objective of these new technical rules is to create an even more dynamic and spectacular show in the popular WRC.

The livery on show in Paris is an interim version, with the final specification and look of the car only to be revealed in December.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “The 2017 WRC regulations have allowed all teams to start from a blank page, which has offered us an exciting engineering challenge. The changes will raise the level of entertainment in WRC on stages around the world with wider and more powerful cars. We have been putting our experience from two full seasons of WRC into practice, as we aim to build on our successful 2016 campaign. The 2017 car started testing in April with initial work centred on engine and powertrain testing. More recently, we have looked at suspension, differential and aero. There will be some small evolutions on both chassis and engine later this year. We look forward to revealing the final version of our 2017 car later this year.”

Hyundai Motorsport is in action this weekend at the tenth round of the 2016 Championship, Tour de Corse - Rallye de France, where it is fielding three New Generation i20 WRC cars. The team has enjoyed its most competitive WRC season to date with victories in Argentina and Sardinia and an additional four podiums in Monte-Carlo, Sweden, Poland and, most recently, in Germany.

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