A few weeks ago at the Detroit auto show, Hyundai showed the 2019 Veloster N, the first U.S.-market Hyundai to be thoroughly sportified by Hyundai’s nascent N performance sub-brand. More recently, we reported that Hyundai’s future N-deavors (sorry) will include lightly modified N Sport versions of certain models and that its N-branded cars will be prominently featured in racing endeavors. Now, Hyundai is providing more specifics on those motorsports plans with the announcement that it is partnering with the Indianapolis 500–winning Bryan Herta Autosport team to create and sponsor a racing team to compete in the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge in the Touring Car Racing (TCR) class. We also got a peek at the car it will run in those races: the i30 N TCR.
The i30 N TCR is based on the hot Europe-market i30 N, Hyundai’s first official N car, which is essentially an Elantra GT Sport only with a turbocharged 271 horsepower under the hood plus sport seats, a full skirt of ground effects, big wheels, red accents, and a surprisingly subtle rear spoiler. But there’s nothing subtle about the homologated i30 N TCR, with its blistered fenders, 10-inch-wide wheels, and chin-height rear spoiler. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine pumping out 350 horsepower and mated to a paddle-shifted six-speed sequential gearbox. Chassis modifications include a lowered suspension with adjustable dampers, hydraulically assisted steering, and upsized brakes with 15.0-inch rotors in front and 10.9-inchers in back clamped by bespoke six-piston Brembo calipers up front and two-piston calipers in back. Weight (including the driver), as recognized by TCR regulations, is 2827 pounds, almost exactly 200 pounds less than the last Elantra GT Sport that rolled across our scales.
Enlisted by Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai for TCR racing are Mark Wilkins, 34, of Toronto, and Michael Lewis, 27, of Laguna Beach, California. The first race in the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Racing series is coming up on March 23, and we’ll be watching to see where Hyundai and the new i30 N TCRs N-d up. (Last one, we promise.)