Hyundai readies for WRC return
READY TO RACE... AGAIN: Hyundai is ready to re-enter the World Rally championships and has begun preparations with the appointment of Michel Nandan as team principal.
lALZENAU, Germany - Hyundai says it has bolstered its nascent World Rally championship programme with the appointment of WRC veteran Michel Nandan as team principal.
The Frenchman, who has held key technical positions on the WRC stage since the mid-1990s, is joining Hyundai at an exciting time in the automaker’s WRC programme.
'EXCITED TO RE-ENTER WRC'
Hyundai announced its WRC intentions at the Paris auto show in September 2012 and is now developing a new 120 model for the challenge in 2014. The company has also established a bespoke motorsport subsidiary, Hyundai Motorsport, under which the company’s WRC programme will be run.
Gyoo Heon Choi has been named its president.
Tak Uk Im, executive vice-president and COO of Hyundai Motor said: "Hyundai is excited to re-enter WRC and we're back not just to compete, but to win. Hyundai and WRC are a perfect match and our racing experience will translate directly into performance and handling improvements in our road-going vehicles."
Hyundai has identified WRC as the perfect platform from which to promote the excitement and dynamism of its growing brand on an international stage. The thrill and spectacle of WRC and the technological prowess of the series, it says, "will combine to impeccably embody Hyundai’s brand values".
Hyundai is no stranger to WRC, having participated from 2000-03. Now, the company says, it is raising the bar for its return and running an in-house team at a custom-built HQ in Alzenau, Germany, just outside of Frankfurt, the city which houses Hyundai’s European HQ.
Nandan said: “I'm honoured to have been chosen to spearhead Hyundai's WRC entry. The project is still in its infancy but things are moving rapidly and I'm looking forward to developing the team. There is much to be done but, with a dedicated facility in and an ambitious core of highly motivated personnel, we are already making good progress.”
An interim version of the i20 has already begun testing in Korea for component and suspension analysis; more tests are scheduled throughout 2013.
Nandan added: “We are deliberately using an interim version of the i20 to carry out important component testing and to ensure that we have done our homework before we enter competition. This phase will continue throughout 2013 as we prepare for our first full season back in WRC in 2014.
"There are a lot of other decisions that we will have to make during the course of the year, particularly regarding the selection of drivers, but this also requires time and due diligence. We will, at the same time, keep a close eye on how the 2013 WRC season unfolds."