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Hyundai N performance brand closer to WRC than current SR models

The 2017 i20 WRC racer was previewed in Paris wearing thousands of N logos.

Renault Sport, MX-5 and 86/BRZ internet friends beware, your track days could soon be infiltrated by Hyundais.

The upcoming i30N will have more WRC-like motorsport cred than the current sports-flavoured Accent, i30 and Veloster SR models, according to the ex-BMW M guru behind Hyundai’s new ‘N’ performance brand. 

Speaking with CarsGuide.com.au at this week’s Paris motor show, Hyundai N boss Albert Biermann defined the i30N that’s set to make its production debut in the next 12 months as a ‘high performance car’ that will be clearly differentiated from the brands existing SR models.  

“The key difference is, the high performance cars they are really developed for race track driving. You can put them out on the racetrack and just drive it. Tyre, brake, cooling, they can survive. Our normal cars, they cannot survive on the track. They can survive one or two laps, maybe three, but that’s about it,” Biermann said. 

Asked what BMW M expertise he was bringing to the project, Biermann suggested he was using all of it. “The philosophy is basically the same. Precision, feedback, agility. That’s what high performance should be and a track focus.” 

There’s more motorsport to come from Hyundai brand, especially linked to N.

“Motorsport is an important thing for the N sub brand. As you know, high performance is bringing the excitement of a racecar into everyday driving. We have the WRC, which is doing a great job already for some time and we keep going, and we will add more motorsport activities to it. Not on only rally, there’s more motorsport to come from Hyundai brand, especially linked to N,” Biermann added. 

He also explained that the current WRC program extends beyond a hefty investment from the marketing side of the business, with genuine engineering synergies between the WRC team and N road car engineers. 

“It is linked intensely. Many things our Korean engineers they learn from working in the WRC project, and the philosophy. A high performance car is all about control and precision like in a rally car. So for example the seat in the [i30N] car, it is not a race seat, but the philosophy behind it. The same people who developed the super lightweight seat in the WRC car, it is the lightest in the WRC. The same people are working on the seat in the i30N.”

We look forward to seeing these seats, but also another affordable track-worthy performance car entering the Australian market.

Could an i30N ever tempt you away from your current track-day warrior? Tell us what you think in the comments below.