Hyundai Takes the Veloster to the Track

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

There once was a time when racing credentials were mandatory if an automaker wanted customers to take a performance model seriously. However, with today’s vast sea of automotive websites (thank you for choosing this one, by the way) individuals can spend countless hours poring over spec sheets and reading reviews from every Tom, Dick, and Harry with access to a keyboard.

While we all like easy access to information, we’re also suckers for the entirely subjective “good old days” of motoring. Racing mean raising a car’s profile and, hopefully, improving sales while encouraging aftermarket support. With that in mind, Hyundai has entered itself in the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series and is taking the new Veloster N TCR.

With a 2.0-liter, 350-horsepower turbocharged mill and an estimated curb weight of 2,833 pounds, the car should scramble around a track rather well. Of course, it receives additional help from an impossible-to-miss widebody aero kit, tremendous trellis wing, and no-nonsense suspension.

MacPherson struts with adjustable dampers reside up front and a multi-link setup (also adjustable) takes care of the back. Lightweight Hyundai Motorsport racing wheels house two-piston calipers up front and six-piston Brembo jobs in the rear for braking. True to the car it is based on, power is sent exclusively to the front wheels. But that’s about where the similarities end. The TCR just uses a six-speed sequential gearbox, competition seats, six-point seat harnesses, race-style instrumentation, has been gutted for lightness, and uses a full roll cage to ensure it passes course and event safety regulations.

Hyundai believes the TCR should aid in its marketing efforts for the Veloster, and we’re inclined to agree. Previously, the i30 N TCR raced in markets where it wasn’t even being sold. Introducing the Veloster TCR, which shares 85 percent of its components with the i30 racer, allows Hyundai to drum up some business for the model — and Hyundai seems to have listened carefully to what enthusiasts want when it comes to its hottest hatchback.

“The Veloster is a perfect fit for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge as we expand our motorsports efforts,” explained Dean Evans, vice president of Marketing for Hyundai Motor America. “The all-new 2019 Veloster and Veloster N are playful, fun-to-drive cars, and thanks to Bryan and his team we’re excited to introduce them to racing fans across North America. In 2018, we won a manufacturer’s championship, so it is great to get back to racing with our proven veterans, a pair of great young drivers, and this brand-new car.”

The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season starts on Jan. 25 at Daytona International Speedway. Hyundai plans on fielding two vehicles in conjunction with Bryan Herta Autosport. Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins will be in one while the comparatively younger Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker pilot the other.

Believe it or not, you can actually buy the Veloster N TCR for yourself if you’re willing to jump through a few additional hoops. However, the model starts at a prohibitively expensive $155,000 plus international shipping — as both TCR racers are manufactured in Germany. Deliveries are said to commence in March.

[Images: Hyundai]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • NeilM NeilM on Jan 15, 2019

    Just when I thought the Veloster couldn't look any stupider...

  • Dougjp Dougjp on Jan 16, 2019

    6 piston calipers....on the rear? Only 2 on the front? Love to hear that one explained, if in fact it isn't a mistake in reporting.

  • Kat Laneaux I get the point that Musk is making. I wouldn't want everyone to know my secrets. If they did, they could or would shout it out to the world. But then, if Musk certified certain folks and had them sign Confidentiality agreements, which would allow them to work on cars that Musk had made, that could allow others to work on his cars and not confine vehicle owners to be charged an arm and a leg for the service. It's a catch 22. People are greedy little buggers. If they can find a way to make money, they will even if it wrong. People...sad.
  • 285exp I have been assured that EVs don’t require maintenance, so this seems pointless.
  • Slavuta "The fuel-economy numbers are solid, especially the 32 mpg on the highway"My v6 Highlander did 31 over 10 hour highway trip
  • Aja8888 As I type this, my 4 months old Equinox's Onstar module that controls the phone is broken. Yep, 4 months (never worked right from day one). Replacement will be a REFURBISHED unit since no new ones can be obtained (from China?). I really don't miss the phone via Bluetooth. And I have a great Garmin that I have used for years for trips which has free lifetime maps and traffic.
  • Bd2 There's a reason why talented American execs have been leaving Stellantis in droves.Tavares seems intent in following "Le Cost Cutter" Ghosn into driving his company into the dirt, whilst "justifying" his ever expanding compensation.