It’s not what you think it is. This is not part of Hyundai’s motorsport program. Instead, these guys used the 45th running of the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race as a proving ground for the Hyundai i30 N before they sign off on the production model.
When it goes on sale sometime next year, the i30 N will become the brand’s very first performance model to carry the ‘N’ badge. Think of it as what Mugen is to Honda, STI is to Subaru, and AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. With so much riding on its success, it’s only fitting that the i30 N is put through the most grueling endurance race in the world.
Hyundai entered a pair of i30 Ns in the SP3T Class, for 1.6 to 2.0L turbocharged engine machines, and modified purely to meet stringent safety regulations. That includes the roll cage, fire extinguisher, and race seat. They also threw in racing tires, race-spec brakes, a front splitter, and rear spoiler because why the hell not. But aside from those bits, it’s a as close as you can get to the production model. Its 2.0L turbocharged engine and 6-speed manual gearbox are likewise pretty much stock.
The #92 car was shared by Vincent Radermecker from Belgium, Stuart Leonard from the UK, automotive journalist Christian Gebhardt from Germany, and Hyundai R&D engineer Jaekyun Kim. In relatively incident-free race, it completed 135 laps, finished 4th in Class, and 50th overall.
As for the #95 entry, Pieter Schothorst from the Netherlands, automotive journalist Jens Dralle, and Hyundai R&D engineers Youngsun Jee and Jonghyuk Kwon did the driving duties. They crossed the line a further 25 laps behind, 9th in Class, and 95th out of 109 finishers.
Neither i30 Ns won in their class, but that wasn’t the point of this exercise. What’s important for Hyundai is that both conquered the Nürburgring 24 Hours, with no technical problems, proving the track capability and durability of their upcoming hot hatch.
See? Racing DOES improve the breed.