Excelr8 Motorsport is investigating the feasibility of running Hyundai engines in its cars in the British Touring Car Championship next year, in partnership with Swindon Powertrain.
The Suffolk team is currently competing in the championship with four Hyundai i30 N Fastback cars, powered by the TOCA engine which has been developed by Swindon Powertrain.
Announcing a new research and development programme on Wednesday, Excelr8 is looking to build on the success it has already enjoyed in 2021, where Tom Ingram has already claimed two race victories.
The work is being undertaken with support from sponsor Hansford Sensors, a long-time partner of Ingram in the BTCC.
Excelr8 Motorsport has made no secret of its desire to forge closer ties with Hyundai, which has been particularly active in touring car racing in recent years thanks to its hugely successful TCR programme.
The decision on whether to use the engine, which could see Swindon Powertrain remain in the BTCC after all despite losing the contract supply the official TOCA-badged engines from next year, will be around the possible gains for the Hyundai, given that the TOCA engine is subject to the same performance tuning opportunities.
“When we first joined the BTCC grid, we made it clear that we had a long-term plan to establish ourselves in the series and had no intention of simply making up the numbers,” said Excelr8 team owner Justina Williams.
“Despite the many challenges that we have all faced over the last 18 months in particular, we have made huge progress in taking on the build of our own car, and then in developing it into the race winning package that we have this season.
“The BTCC as a series is one that is constantly evolving and if we want to maintain the progress that we have made so far, we need to look at what we can do to ensure that we continue to challenge at the front of the grid.
“This R&D project is an opportunity to explore the way in which we can continue to grow as a team, and can also maximise our chances of success on track in the new hybrid era.
“We are lucky to have a very talented group of engineers within our team to work on this R&D project and in Swindon Powertrain, we have a partner that has a proven record of success when it comes to developing engines that are capable of fighting for race wins and championship titles.
“As ever, the support of our commercial partners is a key factor in how we operate as a race team, and this programme wouldn’t have been possible without the backing of Chris and the team at Hansford Sensors.
“Having joined us alongside Tom Ingram at the start of the year, we have quickly developed a very strong working relationship and we share the same goals when it comes to what we want to achieve on track during the remainder of this season and beyond.
“There is a lot of hard work ahead in the coming months as we fully evaluate the options that are available to us, and ultimately we will only push ahead with a full engine programme if we know that it is the right decision for everyone involved.”
Raphaël Caillé, Managing Director of Swindon Powertrain Ltd, thanked Williams for involving the company in this latest project.
“Our engineers have enjoyed working with the team at EXCELR8 in recent years, and I would like to thank them for trusting our company to lead the R&D project for this programme,” said Caillé.
“The development of high-performance powertrains is our speciality, and our engineering team is hard at work making the most of the opportunity to work on this new engine for the Hyundai.
“We look forward to delivering everything that the team is looking for from the R&D project in the coming months.”