Hyundai to stress-test its new hot hatch in the Nurburgring 24 hours

Published: 24 May 2016

► Hyundai’s new hot hatch to be race-tested
► ’Ring race car to develop road car’s engine
► i30 the first of a new series of ‘N’ performance cars

Hyundai will battle-harden its upcoming i30 N hot hatch by testing a development car in the upcoming Nurburgring 24hrs endurance race.

The Korean manufacturer will enter three cars in the annual endurance classic, which takes place on the 15.8-mile Nordschleife circuit. Together with two production-based cars (an i30 1.6 Turbo and a Veloster), it will also field a 2.0-litre turbocharged i30 to test the engine and overall powertrain of its imminent i30 ‘N’ hot hatch.

A Hyundai hot hatch? Really?

Hyundai recently announced a high-performance sub-brand called ‘N.’ It’s kind of Hyundai’s equivalent of BMW’s M division – not least because it’s being run by former vice president of engineering at BMW M, Albert Biermann.

One of the first ‘N’ series road cars will be the i30-based hot hatch currently in development, likely to be launched in 2017.

While the i30 24hr competition car also features race-spec suspension, steering and a widened body, don’t expect the road car to feature similar Impreza WRC-style box arches. The engine is the primary bit that’s being tested for use on the road.

CAR’s spies have captured an i30 N road car prototype on camera – click here to see and read more.

Why is it called ‘N’?

It’s named after Hyundai’s Namyang research and development centre, and also the Nurburgring, where Hyundai has a permanent engineering development centre.

‘This Nürburgring 24h race provides the ideal test bed for our motorsport-inspired N sub-brand development and a key part of our ‘born at Namyang, honed at Nürburgring’ performance-car ethos’ says Biermann. ‘The technological experience gained from this extreme testing will accelerate our development of high-performance, fun-to-drive N models.’

Hyundai’s test centre at the Nurburgring carries out endurance tests on the majority of Hyundai models, with typical test cycles of 480 laps on the Nordschleife, equivalent to around 6200 miles over the course of several weeks. During the 24hr race, the car is expected to complete around 150 laps – roughly equivalent to 2600 miles.

Click here to read more about Hyundai’s ‘N’ performance sub-brand.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer