Upgraded Hyundai i20 WRC breaks cover

An upgraded version of the Hyundai i20 WRC broke cover at last week’s 2013 Geneva Motor Show – and it looks even meaner than before.

The updates aren’t just limited to looks though – the latest spec WRC Hyundai i20 features improved aerodynamics, a revised chassis setup and updated suspension to improve cooling and structural rigidity.

The Hyundai i20 WRC will compete in just one World Rally Championship event in 2013 – a plan the Korean manufacturer has put together to assess the painstaking research and development process the project has gone through, ahead of making its full-season competition debut in 2014.

For now though, we’re happy to gawp at the stunning new paint job. It’s extremely aggressive, combining huge black racing-spec alloy wheels – giving a glimpse of the huge brake discs and calipers – with black bumpers and outrageous orange accents.

Teamed with a light blue hue for the bonnet and doors, it looks simply sublime.

The Hyundai i20 WRC’s abilities run more than skin deep, however. Powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, it should kick out at least 300hp.

In a featherweight body – and boasting compact dimensions, being based on the Hyundai i20 hatchback – as well as featuring a six-speed sequential gearbox and a trick four-wheel drive system for great grip, expect it to be extremely quick.

There’s great potential for the new car, even in the early stages of development, as Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Michel Nandan explains:

“We are still in the infancy of our exciting WRC programme so the development curve for the car and team is steep. This latest version of the i20 WRC has centred on aerodynamics with the objective of improving the car’s cooling systems.

“A new rear wing and front spoiler give the i20 WRC a new external appearance while, under the bodywork, improvements have also been made to the suspension and chassis stiffness as we gear up for a more structured test programme later in the year.”

Private testing of the Hyundai i20 WRC will resume this year around Europe, taking in Tarmac, gravel and snow surfaces to hone the car ready for its appearance on the WRC start line in 2014. We can’t wait…