Hyundai has begun testing its 2022 World Rally Championship racer, which makes the landmark swap to a hybrid drivetrain in line with the sport’s new regulations.
All WRC entrants must use an electrified powertrain from 2022 onwards, with the electric motor used for engine-off driving in the paddock and on road sections.
Hyundai’s ‘Rally1’ contender is based on the new i20 N hot hatchback, rather than the standard i20 which its current racer uses as its basis.
Aside from the styling and branding changes that swap will bring, it will remain a largely technically familiar proposition, with propulsion mainly provided by the same turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that powers the current car.
The hybrid system, which will also be used in Toyota and Ford M-Sport’s 2022 cars – comprises an electric motor on the rear axle producing 134bhp and 133lb ft, and a 3.9kWh battery which will allow short periods of electric-only running when the car is not being driven in anger.
It is one of a series of wide-reaching revisions for top-flight rally cars in 2022, with other changes mostly aimed at improving crash protection and body rigidity.
Hyundai WRC team principal Andrea Adamo said: “It’s a special moment when you take a car to the road for the first time and as always there are some challenges to face.
“In the case of our 2022 Rally1 challenger, we are starting from scratch with brand-new rules, a different concept and a new base model – the i20 N. It was thrilling to kick-off the testing and to start this exciting new adventure.”
The first round of public testing took place in the South of France, following a development programme behind closed doors at Hyundai’s R&D facially in Germany.
The racer will now be tested in various locations across Europe to ensure its capability on all terrains that feature in the WRC calendar.
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