Hyundai has started to build the first prototype of its all-new 2015 i20 World Rally Car and aims to begin testing later in the summer.
Team principal Michel Nandan told wrc.com that the design work had been completed and while information gleaned from the current car would be incorporated into next season’s challenger, there would be little carried over in terms of parts.
“From the general engineering point of view concepts will be similar but I think concerning hardware parts, it’s a totally new car,” he said.
Hyundai’s current i20 is only six rallies old but it was always the Korean manufacturer’s plan to build a new car for next season following the end of the World Rally Car homologation freeze at the end of this year.
“A lot of things are coming from the results of the first events we did. The reason why we were a bit longer designing was that we improved quite a lot by learning from the 2014 car, a lot of things have been improved in this way. Also the dimensions of the car will be different and some current components won’t fit,” he added.
Nandan underlined the importance of the new car, which will carry the team through until the start of 2017, when new-generation World Rally Cars will be introduced to as yet undecided technical regulations.
“Our plan is to do the first tests in the summer. I wait until we are a bit more far in the project to make a proper schedule, but of course our aim is to try to do as much as we can. But as we really want to take care about this new project, we don’t want to rush it.
“We’re very focused on this because for us it’s much more important to our future and we don’t want to miss anything,” said Nandan, who has retained Bryan Bouffier, who completed much of the testing on the 2014 car, to carry out initial work on next year’s contender.
“It’s necessary to have one driver who is dedicated to this type of thing, because a lot of testing has to be done in the beginning before you can involve a race driver.
“Of course, Thierry Neuville will be involved at the beginning of the project but a lot of basic things can be done by Bryan. Our rally drivers have quite a lot to do in pre-event testing and it’s difficult to do both things as they should also have some rest in between,” said Nandan.