Hyundai is looking to take the fight to Citroen, Toyota and Ford in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2017 and has beaten them to the punch with its new car launch.
Hyundai has become the first WRC manufacturer to unveil its 2017 car for the new regulations, and the i20 Coupe WRC looks downright mean.
It’s the Korean team’s third new car in as many seasons and was uncovered at the famous Monza circuit in Italy on Thursday.
WRC teams have been completing extensive testing with their 2017 cars (4,000 miles for Hyundai, according to Autocar), but this is the first one we’ve officially seen be launched.
Major changes to the aero and engine rules have been introduced for the 2017 season, in a bid to make the cars quicker, more exciting to watch and more aggressive to look at.
From first impressions of the i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai has certainly got that last point nailed down. Described as an evolution of the now-retired i20 five-door model from 2016, it certainly looks the part while being lighter and having more mechanical grip.
With larger wings, bumpers, wheel arches and diffusers, the i20 Coupe WRC looks insane and under the bonnet, it’s quicker too, with a larger 36mm restrictor boosting horsepower from the 1.6-litre engine from 300bhp to 380bhp.
Hyundai made good inroads into fighting the more established runners in 2016, finishing second in the championship behind Volkswagen.
Of course, VW has now exited the WRC, but Hyundai will still have some tough competition to beat in Citroen, Toyota and Ford.
Thierry Neuville, Haydon Paddon and Dani Sordo remain in an unchanged line-up for Hyundai in 2017, with Nicolas Gilsoul, John Kennard and Marc Marti as their co-drivers.
The 2017 WRC season gets underway from the 20-22 January with the famous Monte Carlo Rally.