Hyundai Motorsport has already made a big impact at Rallye Monte-Carlo. And that’s before its brace of i20 WRCs have even turned a wheel on a competitive stage.
The Korean manufacturer, making its WRC return this season, has erected arguably the biggest hospitality area ever seen in the WRC at the Gap service area – and it’s caused quite a stir.
The imposing glass-fronted building measures almost 900 square metres and incorporates two indoor service bays, engineering offices, a hospitality area and a spectator viewing zone that allows rally fans to watch Hyundai’s i20 WRC cars being serviced undercover.
Hyundai has even made provision to serve cups of hot coffee and soup to spectators while they’re watching the service action unfold.
“We are bringing another approach to the service park,” Alain Penasse, Hyundai Motorsport team manager, told WRC.com.
“Our idea was to bring spectators closer to the team. Hyundai always had a feeling in the past that the spectators were kept away from the cars, maybe with a barrier and VIP standing in front of them.
“But this structure brings the spectators into our hospitality area and closer to the action. When the cars are in service, we open our doors and make our work accessible to everyone.”
Jack Hoy, a British rally fan, was impressed with Hyundai’s new building. He said: “It’s like a massive dealership has been erected in the service area – it’s quite a sight. I love the fact you can watch the engineers working on the cars in the warm. That’s quite a development!”
The temporary structure is so big that it takes a team of engineers five days to build. Hyundai plans to use it on all ten European WRC rounds this season.