Hyundai Motorsport has lifted the covers on its 2017 Hyundai i20 WRC challenger at a media event at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy, ahead of the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC) season opener in Monte-Carlo.
Based on the road-going Hyundai i20 Coupe not sold locally, the now three-door WRC car replaces the 2016 five-door i20 WRC car CarAdvice was lucky enough to experience from the passenger seat, as part of last month’s Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.
Designed and built to the WRC’s reworked 2017 technical regulations, the new i20 WRC car – which has been undergoing testing since April this year – features aggressive new aerodynamics, greater mechanical grip, more power from its turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine (up 60kW from 224kW to 284kW), less weight, and a freshly re-introduced active centre differential.
With a driver line-up unchanged from the 2016 WRC season, Hyundai Motorsport’s fourth year in the championship will be led by Thierry Neuville of Belgium, Hayden Paddon of New Zealand, and Dani Sordo of Spain – with their respective co-drivers Nicolas Gilsoul, John Kennard, and Marc Marti also carrying over from this year.
Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan said the new regulations mark a “new era for the sport”, with the latest changes being the biggest the sport has seen for some time.
“All teams are starting from scratch so we are on equal footing,” Nandan said.
“Having finished [the Championship] in second position in 2016, we want to demonstrate our ability to fight for the Championship in 2017 – and we are confident the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC will help us do just that.”
As with new cars from Citroen and Toyota, the new 2017 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC will make its competitive debut when Rallye Monte-Carlo kicks off on January 19, before subsequent rounds take place in Sweden (Feb 9-12), Mexico (March 9-12), France (April 6-9), Argentina (April 27-30), Portugal (May 18-21), Italy (June 8-11), Poland (June 29 – July 2), Finland (July 27-30), Germany (August 17-20), Spain (October 5-8), Great Britain (October 26-29), and finally Australia (November 16-19).
What do you think of the new look and the new regulations for 2017? Let us know in the comments section below.