Hyundai i30 N TCR customers enjoyed their most successful showing yet last weekend (14-15 July), with the car claiming a total of 10 podiums across three championships.
Double win for i30 N TCR to close FIA WTCR European season
i30 N TCR customers BRC Racing Team lead the FIA World Touring Car Cup points’ standings after the three most recent races at the Slovakia Ring (July 13-15). The outfit’s two drivers - Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz - claimed a victory each from the weekend.
Tarquini scored his victory in Race 2, following up his pole position and third place in the opening contest, while Michelisz claimed his first win at the wheel of the i30 N TCR in dominant fashion in Race 3 – completing the Grand Slam of pole position, fastest lap and victory as he led every lap on the Sunday finale.
He was nearly joined on the Race 3 podium by MRacing driver Thed Björk, who fought through the field after a difficult qualifying session to cross the line in fourth place only a fraction of a second away from snatching third.
Not only does the BRC squad now lead the teams’ championship, but, courtesy of his Race 2 success, Tarquini also leads the drivers’ standings from MRacing owner/driver Yvan Muller. Muller himself finished in third place in Race 2 to put two i30 N TCR on the podium, however, he now trails Tarquini by the narrow margin of two points as teams and drivers now prepare for the summer break, and the four fly-away events that complete the inaugural FIA WTCR season.
i30 N TCR claims another 1-2 in the USA
In the TCR class of the Pirelli World Challenge the Hyundai America supported Bryan Herta Autosport team delivered a fifth win from seven attempts in the first race of the annual Rose Cup weekend at Portland International Raceway (13-15 July). After missing out on pole position teammates Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis made the decisive moves while lapping slower cars to make their way into first and second respectively, scoring a fourth 1-2 of the season for the i30 N TCR.
In Race 2 Lewis was able to match the pace of the race leader, but could find no way past leader around the 3,1 kilometre circuit scoring consecutive second positions on the weekend to bring his personal tally of 2018 podiums to seven, after eight races of the season.
Hyundai fight at the front of TCR Italy
The i30 N TCR was also at the front of the pack in TCR Italy at Mugello (13-15 July). For the start of the opening race the front row of the grid was made up of two Hyundai – Pit Lane Competizione’s Nicola Baldan on pole position with Eric Scalvini, representing BRC Racing Team, alongside. After the start both were soon part of the fight for first, with both men taking the lead at different points during the battle.
Baldan’s was the last to mount a challenge for the win, with a final lap move that ended with a drag race to the line, and a winning margin of just 0.04 seconds. While he celebrated from the second step of the podium, Scalvini took the silverware for third. Federico Paolino, aboard the second of the BRC Racing Team entries took points for eighth position.
Baldan completed his result in Race 2, springing from seventh on the reverse grid to finish the opening lap in fourth, from where he was able to mount a challenge for the lead following a Safety Car period after a first lap incident. Scalvini had to take evasive action in the fracas, limiting him to only ninth placed finish while his teammate crossed the line in seventh.
Hyundai customers sweep TCR Europe’s Hungarian weekend
i30 N TCR drivers won both races at the fourth round of the TCR Europe championship at the Hungaroring (7-8 July), beating an incredibly competitive field in the process. In the opening event Target Competition’s Dušan Borković scored a third win of the season. The Serbian driver came out on top of a four-way battle for the lead, making up places after qualifying fourth in a difficult session on a wet track. He now lays only a single point behind the championship leader, with the second half of the season remaining.
In Race 2 at the Hungarian track Francisco Mora powered from Pole Position to take a first win at the wheel of an i30 N TCR. He was joined in his podium celebrations by his M1RA teammate Daniel Nagy, who finished second to complete a 1-2 for the squad at the home event. For Nagy, who also scored two podiums at the circuit as a WTCR Wildcard entry in a Hyundai earlier in the season, the second place completed a hugely successful weekend. He was the only man to stand on the podium at the end of both contests - after finishing third in Race 1 - and together the results cemented his third place in the championship, and mean that he will start the final six races of the season as part of the fight for the title.
After being one of those to struggle for a clean lap in qualifying Target driver Kris Richard was able to rely on the race pace of his i30 N TCR to score good points, recording a fifth in Race 1 and seventh in Race 2. In the second encounter he crossed the line one place behind his teammate Reece Barr who continues to show great pace in the car, despite his relative lack of experience in TCR machinery.
The seven Hyundai customer drivers at the event were completed by Igor Stefanovski and Cedric Piro, the latter making his debut in the car run by the Autodis by Piro Sport team.
Hyundai i30 N TCR customer teams lead the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) points after a spectacular performance across the opening three races of the brand new championship at the Race of Morocco (7-8 April). With two wins from the weekend, as well as the five points on offer for taking pole position from Sunday’s qualifying session, BRC Racing Team driver Gabriele Tarquini leads the championship.
Having already taken victory in Saturday’s historic first race around the Marrakech street circuit Tarquini led four i30 N TCR to lock-out the front two rows of the grid in the weekend’s second qualifying session, with his BRC teammate Norbert Michelisz and the pair of Yvan Muller Racing cars lining up behind him. After a battling Race 2, where their stellar one-lap pace put them at the back of a reversed top-ten, the Hyundai-running teams returned to the front for the finale.
Tarquini led from lights to flag to earn his way onto the top step of the podium ahead of the two YMR entered drivers, led by Team Manager Yvan Muller. Unaffected by the brake issues that dogged rival manufacturers thought the weekend, despite the series’ Balance of Performance regulations making the i30 N TCR one of the heaviest cars on the grid, the teams hold a handsome lead in the standings.
Gabriele Tarquini said about his historic win: “The Hyundai i30 N TCR was fantastic, fast and reliable, and kept a great pace all weekend. BRC Team impeccably coped with every situation. I’m over the moon and hope the dream continues”.
Norbert Michelisz explains: “It was a pretty unlucky weekend, but I still managed to get important scores for the general ranking. We have 27 races ahead and nothing is lost. I’m very motivated for the next event, my home race at Hungaroring”.
BRC Racing Team CEO Massimiliano Fissore commented: “The Marrakech weekend was very positive for BRC Racing Team. We proved to have a good team, excellent drivers and the Hyundai i30 N TCR was extremely competitive. These factors make us optimistic for the season ahead, and we believe we have all the parts to be among those challenging for the victory all year”.
Double 1-2 from Pirelli World Challenge debut
The sensational debut on the world stage completed an incredible few weeks for i30 N TCR customers. Opening the Pirelli World Challenge season at the Circuit of the Americas (March 24-25) in Texas, Bryan Herta Autosport dominated the first event for the TCR category in the championship. Drivers Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis swept the front row in qualifying for the Hyundai America backed team – beginning their first season in touring cars - and then went on to take 1-2 results in both races, with each man taking a victory in a perfect start to their campaign.
TCR class podium on first Nordschleife run
The same weekend a pair of Hyundai N entered i30 N TCR took on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in the first round of the VLN championship. Despite being left facing the wrong way at the very first corner of the four-hour race Tarquini and Korean driver Jae Kyun Kim fought back to finish third in a very competitive TCR class on the incredibly demanding 25km circuit. The experienced pairing of Nicola Larini and Manuel Lauck also fought back after problems early in the running, after Larini slid off track on oil dropped by a competitor and damaged the right-rear corner against the barrier. The team was able to repair the car, returning the pairing to the action for a sixth placed finish in class.
Young driver shows i30 N TCR pace in TCR UK
With Lewis Kent and his Essex & Kent Motorsport team the i30 N TCR was part of the first weekend of the TCR UK championship at Silverstone (March 31-April 1). One of the youngest drivers in the series Kent qualified a very impressive fourth fastest in mixed conditions. Unfortunately, a minor issue during race day kept him from converting his pace into a deserved result. However, his pace on a single lap gave a signal of intent for his first season in the TCR category.
Hyundai Motorsport’s first project for circuit racing took a big step forward, with the New Generation i30 TCR taking to the track for the first time as testing began for the new car.
The Customer Racing department travelled to Motorland Aragon in Spain as the development phase of the project got underway in earnest. Prior to the trip the team had completed several shakedown runs with the brand new design, but the three days at the track gave the engineers a first opportunity to gather data about the car’s behaviour around laps of a race circuit.
Completing the running without major reliability issues the team was able to begin trying alternative settings as they started to work towards a base set-up for the car. The mix of corners on the Aragon circuit made it the perfect venue for the maiden test. The 5.3km layout allowed the team and driver Gabriele Tarquini to refine the handling balance through both slow and high speed corners, as well as under heavy braking for the hairpin at the end of the long back straight.
The team was also able to test a number of different engine map settings to begin to gauge the performance of the two-litre turbocharged engine, which is connected to a six-speed sequential gearbox, operated with paddle-shifters.
Based on the road-going New Generation i30 platform the new race car is designed according to the successful TCR regulations that were first used in 2015. The category now forms the basis for a number of international and national championships, as well for classes that compete at endurance events.
Following the test the car returned to Hyundai Motorsport’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany, where the team will prepare for next date in a busy development schedule.
Customer Racing department manager Andrea Adamo said: “The first test of a new car is always a very exciting moment in a project, and to have come through three days without a major problem makes it even better. We were able to complete all the work that we had set out for the test, which is obviously a nice start to a busy development schedule for the New Generation i30 TCR project. We were able to work on the balance of the car, and start developing an initial set-up that we can use in future, not only for the handling, but the important engine and differential settings. We can now use these as a base for future tests as we turn our focus to gaining the maximum performance from specific components.”
Testing of the New Generation i30 TCR will continue through the summer and autumn at venues around Europe. The first completed cars are expected to be delivered to customers is early December.