Independent British Touring Car Championship outfit Exceler8 Motorsport has confirmed that it will run two brand new Hyundai i30 N Fastback cars in the championship next year.
The announcement means that the team will ditch its ageing MG6 cars and bring the South Korean manufacturer to the British series for the first time.
The Suffolk-based team used its first season in the BTCC in 2019 to run the MG6 cars and learn about the championship, before committing to run the new cars next year.
Exceler8 is no stranger to building race cars, having completed the development, build and global distribution of over 70 MINI Challenge cars in previous years.
“The build of the Hyundais marks the next stage in our multi-year plan to become a title contender in the British Touring Car Championship,” said Exceler8 Team Principal Oliver Sheperd.
“The i30 Fastback N Performance offers a very favourable combination of wheelbase, track width, drag coefficient and torsional stiffness, so we are extremely excited about the prospects of this project.
“It’s going to be an extremely busy winter, but the whole team is extremely motivated to get the cars out on track as soon as possible.”
The design work for the i30 N Fastback NGTC car began in late September and the team has also bolstered its technical department in order to deliver the project.
The project is further bolstered by support from ‘key players’ in Hyundai’s UK Dealer Network.
Justina Williams, joint Exceler8 team owner, says that the team met their expectations during the 2019 season with MG machinery, in which drivers Rob Smith and Sam Osborne both achieved a best result of 14th.
“The 2019 season has been a real success for the team having achieved all the goals we set for ourselves at the start of the season,” said Williams.
“On track we scored points with both drivers in our first season, and from operational, commercial and presentation points of view we were able to compete with the established frontrunners.
“With the development of these new cars we should not only be achieving better results, but also deliver increased value for our Brand Partners, especially as we are first out of the blocks with the introduction of hybrid technology.”
The announcement brings Hyundai’s sporty fastback i30 N to the grid, with the car having been launched earlier in the year.
The car shares all of its running gear with the i30 N hatchback car, but also benefits from a 7% increase in torsional stiffness thanks to the coupé-style bodyshell.
“It’s fantastic to see another new marque join the BTCC, this time with EXCELR8 Motorsport,” said BTCC Chief Executive Alan Gow. “When we set the NGTC regulations it was for precisely this purpose, to allow this sort of diversity between teams and drivers.
“Hyundai is a globally recognised brand, which has made a big impact in other forms of motorsport already. This new project from Exceler8 should make a great addition to the grid.
“It’s been fascinating to see how the team has grown across its maiden season in the BTCC, and the attitude and work ethic the team has shown while it gets up to speed.
“It’s no secret that the MGs were one of the oldest chassis on the grid, and the job the team had done to refresh them was very impressive.
“I look forward to seeing how much of a step forward EXCELR8 Motorsport can make with the new-generation Hyundais.”