Hyundai to field four all-new Elantras in WTCR
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing has confirmed four of its new Elantra N TCR machines will compete in this year’s FIA World Touring Car Cup.
WTCR Hyundai teams BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Squadra Corse and Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team will each debut two Elantras in this year’s eight-round championship.
Touring car legend Gabriele Tarquini, a winner of BTCC, ETCC, WTCC and WTCR titles, will pilot an Elantra for the BRC squad alongside 36-year-old former WTCR champion Norbert Michelisz.
Meanwhile, Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay has been drafted into Hyundai family to drive for the Engstler outfit, having previously driven Audi and more recently Alfa Romeo TCR machinery in WTCR. The 33-year-old teaming up with 21-year-old Luca Engstler, son of team owner Franz.
The newly developed Elantra N TCR saloon will replace the popular and successful i30 N which debuted at the end of the 2017 season. The car has won titles all over the world, including two WTCR drivers’ crowns when it guided Tarquini and Michelisz in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
“We have done everything possible to allow our customers teams to compete for the WTCR title again this season,” said Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo.
“For different reasons we were not happy with the results last year, but in the past these teams have been very successful, so we aimed to build on that rather than start from zero again.
“We have included our four Customer Racing drivers and the teams at every stage of the development of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR, so they have each been able to gain a lot of experience with the car, which they can immediately use when they start racing.
“Even now, though, we cannot stand still. Supported by our Customer Racing engineers there are more tests before the first race at the Nurburgring to ensure the best start to the season possible.”
Tarquini is confident that a thorough testing and develop meant programme will ensure the new Elantra N TCR is competitive this year.
“This is the most prepared I have been for the start of the WTCR since 2018, when I won the title,” said Tarquini.
“At that time, I had been part of the development of the Hyundai i30 N TCR, and this season we have been testing with the Hyundai Elantra N TCR since last summer. This should show in the performances of BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Squadra Corse on-track when we start racing.
“Every year WTCR is very competitive, so it can make a big difference to have any advantage over the other drivers and I think with our experience testing the new car, we have that.”
Likewise, Vernay confirmed switching to Hyundai was an easy decision once presented with the new Elantra N TCR.
“When the opportunity came to drive for Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing in WTCR it was an easy decision to make,” said Vernay.
“Hyundai models have been some of the fastest in the TCR category for many seasons, and it shows in the number of wins their customers have had in the series.
“For me it is a new team to work with, and a new car for everyone. Being so involved in the development process has been incredibly helpful, both in getting some additional understanding of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR before the first races, but also having an early chance to work with Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team and their engineers to fully prepare for the year ahead.”
The new Hyundai Elantra N will make its race debut at the WTCR season opener at Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife on 3-5 June.
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