Hyundai i20 WRC rally contender starts testing

The Hyundai i20 WRC rally car has begun its initial testing programme, undergoing preliminary shakedowns at the Korean firm’s European motorsport base outside Frankfurt, Germany.

The new Hyundai i20 WRC will enter into competition in the World Rally Championship in 2014, marking the manufacturer’s return to the sport after it canceled its rally plans with the Accent WRC car.

But now it’s back – and how – with the new car beginning testing to collect more data and information ahead of its first race in 2014. And the signs are looking overwhelmingly positive.

Initial testing took place on snow and ice, although the programme will take in all surfaces and climates, including the Tarmac of Europe and dry, hot deserts around the world.

The bespoke racer features a highly modified version of Hyundai’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to a race-spec sequential gearbox.

While for general road drivers this may seem totally unrelated, the move into a full-on world championship could spawn a super-hot version of the Hyundai i20 hatchback.

Think at least 200hp, an awesome chassis tuned for fast road driving and maybe even four-wheel drive and you’ll be in the right ball park.

Hyundai’s return to the WRC is not just a marketing exercise either. Knowledge learned through racing in some of the toughest conditions on the face of the planet will improve the performance, efficiency and reliability of its regular road-going vehicles.

The firm has already shown what it can do in terms of the above with its amazing range – including the Hyundai i30 and i30 Tourer, i40 and i40 Tourer, Veloster and Veloster Turbo and the New Generation Santa Fe 4×4.

Increasing the values at the core of Hyundai’s model line-up through knowledge gained in the cauldron of motorsport can’t fail to better the cars the Korean firm produces.

It’s looking good from here on out, too. With the Hyundai i20 WRC already set to make the start line of the 2014 championship, and an exhausting test and development process scheduled between now and then, the future holds exciting times for Hyundai.

What do you think of the Hyundai i20 WRC and the firm’s return to the premier class in rallying? Let us know below.