Hyundai Takes the Veloster to the Track

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
hyundai takes the veloster to the track

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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2 of 6 comments
  • 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.

  • Peeryog OK , my fault. But there were a number of inadvertent scatalogical references in the original post. To which, having the intellectual maturity of a 12 year old boy, I snickered.
  • Ajla People that buy a new Silverado or Sierra without a V8 are like the people that get salmon at Peter Luger.
  • MKizzy The Mazda 6 wagon needs to be brought here pronto. Sexy looks aside, it would look less out of place in Mazda's CUV lineup vs the sedan, and since Mazda wants to go "premium," wagon customers tend to be the most affluent (if Daimer-Benz is to be believed). My second choice is the attractive Hyundai i40 wagon, which would replace the defunct VW Sportwagon in the small/mid size wagon niche.
  • Carlson Fan GM needs new leadership. A 9000lb off-road vehicle???? Don't get that thing stuck in a remote area.Imagine if they had brought back the iconic K5 Blazer name and built something to compete with the Wrangler like Ford did with the Bronco. They could have offered that with an electric power train in addition to the gas models. Ford may have some quality issues right now but whoever is steering that ship knows what they are doing. The Bronco & Maverick where both brilliant ideas.
  • Carlson Fan "But it does give General Motors an opportunity to dangle a diesel in front of the faces of consumers and presumably one that yields better gas mileage than the 6.2-liter V8 they’d otherwise be buying."I'll take the 6.2 thank you. The diesel offers some advantages over gas if you use the truck for towing, lower total cost of ownership isn't one of them. I'll add in the gas engine offers better long term reliability & cold weather performance if you live where it snows like me.