By on January 15, 2019

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]

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