Hyundai motorsport chiefs say its World Rally Championship programme will result in warmed-up versions of its road cars being launched.
The Korean firm is joining the WRC next year and is testing the i20machine that will do battle with VW’s Polo, Citroën’s DS3 and Ford’s Focus.
“It is Hyundai’s intention to connect the experience of sport with road cars,” said team principal Michel Nandan. “It’s probably a bit too early to talk about it because we’re still in the early stages of the development of the i20 WRC.”
Team manager Alain Penasse said the WRC programme was aimed at changing the brand image to attract younger buyers. “Whatever performance we get from the WRC car you always sell better,” he said. “You attract attention of younger people and that’s the aim of Hyundai. It knows it has to do something to make the brand younger and more dynamic.”
He added that the rally programme was already having an influence on the firm’s research and development activities: “We have a lot of Korean engineers who are at the WRC base near Frankfurt.
"They work closely with us and there is a very good cooperation with the Yeongnam research and development centre. They started the work on the i20 WRC there before the programme was launched and are heavily involved.”