After Hyundai withdrew from the World Rally Championship in 2003, it set to work creating a long-term plan to establish an in-house WRC team in Europe and develop a new rally car. Nine years later, the company has finally announced itís ready to return to the series with the debut of the WRC i20 at the Paris auto show. Hyundai no doubt hopes it will have better luck than it did with its Accent WRC car, which competed without much success from 2000 until Hyundai pulled out in í03.
Hyundai hasnít released specifics on its new WRC i20, but production-class regulations call for a turbocharged 1.6-liter, all-wheel drive, a sequential gearbox, and various aerodynamic enhancements. The interior will be stripped to the bare metal and fitted with a roll cage and other safety equipment. Power will be limited to around 300 hp, but torque figures could top 440 lb-ft. Like many WRC cars, it should hit 60 mph in about three seconds. So, not your run-of-the-mill Hyundai.
The i20 will be compete globally against cars such as the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, the Mini John Cooper Works WRC, and the CitroŽn DS3 WRC.