Hyundai linked with move away from WRC from 2023

Team principal Andrea Adamo hopes new WRC regulations are delayed, won't rule out sportscar move


Hyundai Motorsport has been linked to a move from the World Rally Championship to a sportscar program from 2023.

If Hyundai does depart the WRC, it will be at the end of next season before the arrival of the next generation of hybrid powered Rally1 cars.

DirtFish sources in both the WRC and sportscars have confirmed mounting speculation about a possible shift in emphasis in Hyundai’s focus.

Should it set its sights on the Le Mans 24 Hours, the understanding is that the Customer Racing department would continue to work in rallying, with the all-new i20 Rally2 to be revealed on Wednesday and news of an i20 Rally3 expected soon after.

Hyundai Motorsport director Andrea Adamo declined to talk in detail about his team’s future, telling DirtFish: “You can write what you want, people have died to allow you this right.

“What I would say is that this hybrid thing is tricky to do now, it’s too short a time. I’m worried.”

Asked if sportscars and a possible Le Mans entry would be of interest, he added: “Any sort of motorsport that can show the capability, the technology and the things Hyundai can do in the world are welcome.”

DirtFish understands Adamo has been pushing the FIA to delay the implementation of the 2022 technical regulations, in the same way Formula 1 has delayed its new rules and IndyCars spiked its hybrid shift until 2023. Adamo is insistent that, in the current coronavirus-affected economic climate, the right thing to do is to wait.

FIA rally director Yves Matton remains committed to hybrid.

“Looking to the future, the key is the elements of the Rally1 philosophy,” he said.

“First, hybrid and sustainable technology; second, improvement in safety and third, cost reduction. These are even more important now than when we started with these rules two years ago.

“Introducing the hybrid car was key to getting the manufacturers’ commitment for 2022 and this is why it was not possible to think about postponing the introduction of this technology in the championship. We should be able to communicate more about this in the near future.”

The deadline for manufacturers to commit to the regulations – the final version of which are expected to be signed off at December World Motor Sport Council – has slid throughout the year.

The end of June became the end of August, with team sources now outlining the expectation being for Toyota and M-Sport Ford to put pen to paper in the autumn.

Should Hyundai elect to pursue a sportscar program, there are a number of options available to the brand.

From 2022, the World Endurance Championship will implement its new hypercar regulations while also allowing the hybrid LMP2-based LMDh cars to share the top class.

Possible alternatives could involve GT3 racing, with GT World Challenge reserved primarily for customer programs, which could suit Hyundai’s plans.

Words:David Evans

Photos:Hyundai Motorsport GmbH