Hyundai i20 WRC world rally car

Friday Focus: Hyundai i20 WRC

We’ve been centring on the new 2014 Hyundai i10 city car this week, having driven the car ahead of it going on sale in the UK next year. But while on the launch of the Korean firm’s new compact five-door hatchback, something else was vying for our attention.

Hyundai wheeled out the super-aggressive looking Hyundai i20 WRC World Rally Car, set to make its competition debut at next year’s 2014 Monte Carlo rally.

It’s a lesson in form following function, too. The world rally challenger has to be based on the road-going car’s chassis – however, with an amazing lattice of roll cage tubing and bespoke suspension mounts, the i20 WRC is around five times stronger than a regular i20 hatchback. Reassuring to know when you’re whizzing through a forest at three-figure speeds…

Hyundai i20 WRC World Rally Car

The heart of the Hyundai i20 WRC will be a bespoke 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged racing engine mated to a six-speed race-spec sequential gearbox and full-time four-wheel drive system.

In contrast to the new high-quality i10 city car, the i20 WRC is rather Spartan inside. There’s two long levers that sit right by the steering wheel (one for the gears, one for the handbrake to purposely get the car to skid round corners), a pair of fire-proof cloth trimmed bucket seats to sit both occupants extremely low in the car, a couple of data displays and a steering wheel.

It’s 100% focused on performance inside the cabin, and the same can be said on the outside of the car. There’s a massive rear spoiler to add downforce and extra grip, as well as a huge, deep front bumper that feeds cold air into the engine and massive wheel arch extensions front and rear to cover the wider track and fat rally tyres.

Hyundai i20 WRC World Rally Car

Beneath these lurk some seriously expensive motorsport-spec Brembo brakes, which should stop the Hyundai i20 WRC on a sixpence.

Hyundai is taking its assault on the World Rally Championship seriously, signing some massively talented development drivers and pulling together a team of rally experts.

Knowledge is power, they say, and with the collective knowledge Hyundai has in its line-up – in terms of designers, engineers, managers and drivers – the project will be scintillating to follow.

Hyundai i20 WRC World Rally Car

The Korean firm might be drip feeding us information, but we’re even more excited to see how the i20 WRC does on its debut now we’ve seen the might little hatchback in the metal.

What do you think of the car? Want to see Hyundai shake up the established order in the WRC next year with it i20 WRC contender? Why not let us know on Twitter @twwhiteandsons or leave us a comment on our Facebook page.

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