Hyundai is literally racing to launch its first hot hatch.
The South Korean brand has revealed it entered a near production-ready version of its upcoming i30 N in last weekend’s season-opening VLN endurance race at the torturous Nurburgring circuit in Germany.
The car finished in 85th position – sandwiched between a Porsche 911 GT3 and a Cayman – from a total field of almost 200 entries, well ahead of similar level machinery such as the Renault Clio RS and Toyota 86.
Its best lap time of 9min 44.720 seconds is not representative of where it stands against rival hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf R Clubsport that holds the record for the fastest front-drive car around the circuit, as the VLN race combines both the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix circuit.
The four-hour race was a warm-up for the Nurburgring 24-hour event next month where Hyundai will enter a two-car assault, which it claims will allow its engineers to validate the final suspension specifications and the cars’ reliability in the most arduous of conditions.
Albert Biermann, Hyundai Motor Head of Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, said: “We want our high performance brand to have considerable racing pedigree so it is important that we compete with minimal modifications. N?rburgring is where the i30 N has undergone much of its testing and chassis development.”
As revealed last month, the i30 N will arrive in local showrooms before the end of the year and offered in two distinct models. Both will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbo charged four-cylinder driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission via an electronically-actuated mechanical limited slip, with the base-level car offering 183kW of power while a Power Package sees the maximum output lifted to 200kW.
Hyundai has yet to reveal details of additional features or definitive pricing for the i30 N models yet, but it is expected that both variants will feature a high level of standard equipment with an estimated starting price just under $40,000.