Hyundai Motorsport has reached an important new milestone with its New Generation i20 R5 car, having concluded its first tarmac test in March as part of four days of development work in the south of France.
Brian Joss – The arrival of warm, spring weather in southern France provided perfect testing conditions for the Customer Project engineers and test and development driver Kevin Abbring as the team expanded its learning on gravel before adapting the car’s set-up for its tarmac debut.
Over the four days, the team evaluated a revised cooling system behind the redesigned front bumper and bonnet, under which lay an improved 1.6 direct injection turbo engine fitted with a 32 mm restrictor and a five-speed gearbox, mandatory in the FIA’s regulations for the category. The updated engine is the first development stage of many scheduled before the New Generation i20 R5’s planned homologation in the summer.
The opening two days of the test were spent on the familiar Fontjoncouse gravel course with an on-site rebuild carried out to convert the car to tarmac specification. The time on gravel allowed the Customer Project department to assess the chassis and suspension developments made following feedback from last month’s test. The two days of tarmac testing then allowed the team to run the car with the different suspension settings and larger brakes as allowed by the R5 class regulations for rallies on sealed surface.
This latest four-day test comes at the end of a busy month for Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Project, during which another important milestone was attained with the first purchase of two New Generation i20 R5s by a privately run Italian team. The R5 programme has also attracted a high level of interest from customers across Europe, Asia and Australia.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Project Senior Sales Associate Andrew Johns said: “We are really pleased to have such a high level of interest in the New Generation i20 R5 programme at this stage. That there are customers approaching Hyundai Motorsport from Europe, Asia and Australasia shows the excitement that exists for bringing a new manufacturer to the R5 category. To have confirmed orders is a reward to the entire Customer Project for the work already completed and a boost as the testing schedule fills up between now and homologation in the summer.
“Starting tarmac tests with the i20 R5 is important given our aim of having customers rally the car in a variety of championships. They will need to be able to rely on the Hyundai i20 R5 to be equally competitive on the gravel and tarmac surfaces so it is important that we prepare for that during this testing phase at the same time as we increase the reliability and performance. To do this we have tests planned across Europe to make sure we give our customers the best car possible when deliveries begin later in the year.”
The testing schedule for the New Generation Hyundai i20 R5 will continue in variety of locations, simulating the range of road conditions customers will face in rally championships around the world.