Hyundai Motorsport has confirmed that the Hyundai Elantra N TCR will be campaigned by its customer racing teams in this year’s FIA World Touring Car Cup, replacing the successful i30 N TCR.
Two teams, BRC Racing and Engstler Motorsport, will field the Elantra N cars for four drivers: Norbert Michelisz, Gabriele Tarquini, Luca Engstler and Jean-Karl Vernay.
All four drivers have been heavily involved in the development of the new car, and will continue to test it in the weeks ahead of the season opener at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in early June.
The previous model, the i30 N TCR, won the first two drivers’ titles in WTCR in 2018 and 2019 and has picked up 21 race wins and podium finishes in exactly half (38) of all WTCR races held to-date.
The Elantra N was first unveiled in September last year, with its race début coming in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in North America earlier this year.
The new car features a brand new two-litre turbocharged engine, in line with the road-going counterpart.
“We have done everything possible to allow our customers teams to compete for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup title again this season,” said Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Andrea Adamo.
“For different reasons we were not happy with the results last year, but in the past these teams have been very successful, so we aimed to build on that rather than start from zero again.
“We have included our four Customer Racing drivers and the teams at every stage of the development of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR, so they have each been able to gain a lot of experience with the car, which they can immediately use when they start racing.
“Even now, though, we cannot stand still. Supported by our Customer Racing engineers there are more tests before the first race at the Nürburgring to ensure the best start to the season possible.”
Veteran racer Tarquini, who lifted the inaugural WTCR title in 2018, believes he is more prepared than ever since he raced in the TCR era.
“This is the most prepared I have been for the start of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup since 2018, when I won the title,” said the 59-yearold Italian.
“At that time I had been part of the development of the Hyundai i30 N TCR, and this season we have been testing with the Hyundai Elantra N TCR since last summer.
“This should show in the performances of BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse on-track when we start racing.
“Every year WTCR is very competitive, so it can make a big difference to have any advantage over the other drivers and I think with our experience testing the new car, we have that.”
Michelisz says he is determined to regain the #1 on his car from clinching the 2019 drivers’ title.
“Last season I had the #1 on my car, and my first aim is simply to get it back again,” said the Hungarian. “Having tested the Hyundai Elantra N TCR I am confident that we can continue the success we had with the Hyundai i30 N TCR.
“Working with the Customer Racing department engineers it is clear how much effort, and how much of the knowledge from the last three years has gone into the design of the car.
“As a driver I also have the benefit of three years in WTCR, with BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse and with Gabriele as my teammate, so we should have a great combination.”
Engstler, the youngest driver in the squad, is aiming for better results in 2021 after he ended last season with a best finish of eighth.
“I am really excited for the start of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup in 2021,” added Engstler. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the results we wanted last year, but the Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team and I still learned a lot that I can put to use when we start racing again.
“Just two weeks after the end of last season I had started to train, fully focused on 2021. All through testing the Hyundai Elantra N TCR has been getting better every time we are on-track and we still have some more testing planned before the first race.
“I think that all four Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing drivers will be on the pace at the Nürburgring.”
Hyundai newcomer Vernay had been set to compete with Romeo Ferraris in 2021, but made a switch to Hyundai Motorsport earlier in the year.
“When the opportunity came to drive for Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing in WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup it was an easy decision to make,” added Vernay, the 2017 TCR International Series champion.
“Hyundai models have been some of the fastest in the TCR category for many seasons, and it shows in the number of wins their customers have had in the series.
“For me it is obviously a new team to work with, and a new car for everyone.
“Being so involved in the development process has been incredibly helpful, both in getting some additional understanding of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR before the first races, but also having an early chance to work with Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team and their engineers to fully prepare for the year ahead.”