Hyundai names five drivers for first year of Junior driver initiative

Hyundai names five drivers for first year of Junior driver initiative

Hyundai i30 N TCR
Photo: HMSG

Hyundai Motorsport has named five drivers for the first year of its Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative, with all five protagonists competing in either TCR Europe or TCR Asia.

The drivers enrolled as part of the programme in 2019 will be TCR Europe competitors Andreas Bäckman (23), Jessica Bäckman (21), Luca Engstler (19), Dániel Nagy (21) and TCR Asia racer Daniel Miranda (22). Engstler is also contesting a dual campaign in both TCR Europe and TCR Asia.

All five drivers will be able to receive mentoring support from Hyundai’s factory-backed FIA WTCR drivers, as well as receiving opportunities for ‘additional training and media coaching’.

In TCR Europe, drivers from teams Target Competition (both Bäckman siblings) and M1RA Motorsport (Engstler and Nagy) are represented, competing in a field which consists of no less than ten Hyundai i30 N TCR drivers, amongst the other marques.

Engstler has already tasted success in Hyundai machinery, winning nine of his 13 TCR races to-date in the South Korean car. Most recently the German lifted the TCR Malaysia title in an i30 N.

Fellow TCR Asia competitor Miranda is a newcomer to Hyundai racing, joining the TCR Asia series this year with Eurasia Motorsport. So far the Philippine driver has already finished on the podium in the opening meeting in Sepang.

Nagy continues with M1RA for a second successive season, having joined the Hungarian team at the start of 2018. He is in his second season in a Hyundai and will be aiming to once again fight for the overall TCR Europe title, having scored more podium finishes than any other driver last year.

The two newcomers to the Hyundai family are the Bäckman siblings Andreas and Jessica. In 2018 both drivers raced Volkswagen machinery with WestCoast Racing in both the TCR Scandinavia and TCR UK series’, but for 2019 they move to TCR Europe and Target Competition with Hyundai i30 N TCR equipment. Andreas was already a race winner in TCR cars in 2018 after taking victory at Croft.

“For the first season of the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative we have selected an extremely talented group and I am excited to help support them,” said Hyundai Motorsport Team Director Andrea Adamo.

“Each of them has the potential to be a race winner in the Hyundai i30 N TCR. We have already seen that performance in TCR Asia and this weekend in TCR Europe should be incredibly competitive for the drivers there.

“With the support we can offer them I am sure they can have an excellent 2019, and continue their excellent progress in their racing careers until we see them winning with Hyundai in FIA WTCR.”

The Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver program is open to those under the age of 24, racing with a Hyundai customer team. The scheme is aimed to help talented young racers progress their career towards a spot in FIA WTCR with Hyundai teams.