Hyundai Motorsport has launched a driver development programme with South Korea’s Chewon Lim the first to benefit from the new scheme.
Lim and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe will tackle up to 14 European events this year, including ADAC Rallye Deutschland (17 - 20 August), the final all-asphalt round of the WRC season.
Hyundai’s programme follows in the footsteps of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s similar scheme. Takamoto Katsuta and Hiroki Arai have graduated to WRC 2 this season under Toyota’s plan to unearth young Japanese drivers to compete at the top level in WRC.
After competing for six years in circuit racing, 33-year-old Lim beat 5,000 applicants in 2015 to win South Korean reality TV show The Rallyist, aimed at finding new talent. Last year he worked with Hyundai Motorsport at the team’s Alzenau base in Germany.
He drove seven rallies in a R2 car and this season will graduate to a four-wheel drive i20 R5, which is eligible for WRC 2.
Lim said the move into a R5 car would be a big challenge.
“There is a lot more power in the car, and it is also four-wheel drive, which means I have to slightly adapt my driving style again to get the best out it. Every time I get in the car I will be learning more, but that is the target.”
“Last year I felt I made a lot of progress. The most important thing I had to learn to do is to make and understand precise pace notes. Before I was able to do laps of a circuit and learn everything about each corner.
“Now I may only see a corner once on the recce, but when I am competing on stages I quickly have to understand and trust Martijn and the note,” he said.
Hyundai Motorsport team manager Alain Penasse sat on the TV show judging panel that selected Lim.
“One of the things that most impressed me about Chewon was his ability to learn quickly, and he has maintained that since he started working with Hyundai Motorsport,” he said.
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