Hyundai completes busy fortnight of testing
- 10th May 2016, 10:57pm
After a successful tarmac test at the end of last month near Turin, the New Generation i20 R5’s test campaign continued last week. Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing department test team completed five days of testing in Sardinia, split between tarmac and gravel surfaces.
Following the conclusion of running in the Piedmont mountains in mid-April both the New Generation i20 R5 and the test team travelled directly to Sardinia. The grueling schedule dictated for two days on tarmac before three days on gravel on rough gravel roads. Lead test driver Kevin Abbring and his co-driver Seb Marshall tested new suspension parts for the car’s gravel package, developed using Hyundai Motorsport’s knowledge of the island’s WRC stages.
While the development work continues on a variety of surfaces and stages the project entered a new phase at the team’s base, with the preparation of a second chassis as momentum builds towards the New Generation i20 R5’s planned homologation date in the summer. With the introduction of a second car the team can take advantage of the information gained during previous tests, starting to confirm a tarmac specification for production that will be tested further in the coming months.
Established in September last year, Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing department is run from the company’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany alongside the manufacturer’s WRC team. The Customer Racing department has brought together a group of individuals with decades of experience of designing, developing and delivery customer motorsport programmes building on the squad’s two years of experience in the WRC.
The New Generation i20 R5 is based on the same five-door road car as the team’s WRC challenger, which claimed a first victory at Rally Argentina. The R5 is powered by a 1.6 direct injection turbo engine fitted a 32mm restrictor and attached to a five-speed sequential gearbox as demanded by the regulations for the category.
On the completion of the final day of testing, the eighth day of running in the space of two weeks, the Customer Racing department returned to Alzenau. The team’s testing schedule now accelerates, with more testing days on both gravel and tarmac planned before the car’s specification is fixed ahead of its first runs in competition.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department manager Andrea Adamo said: “To have tested for eight days in a fortnight has been tough on everyone, and the car. However, we all knew it was what we needed to do in order to respect our own tight development schedule. Our two days on tarmac in Sardinia backed up the work we had done testing the previous week, then running on gravel meant we could develop that specification. The New Generation i20 R5 has to be equally competitive on tarmac and gravel, so in some areas we are developing two designs at the same time, but with only one car. Having a second chassis will make that process easier. With one we can concentrate on tarmac testing, with the other on gravel. This means we can increase the amount of testing in the final months before our homologation date in the summer as we finalise the specification that our customers will receive.”
Kevin Abbring and Seb Marshall will make their first WRC start of the season at Rally de Portugal later this month for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team. They will then return to test and development work with the Customer Racing department as they work towards homologating the New Generation i20 R5.
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