Alzenau, Germany March 27, 2023 – Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing will support drivers in Junior Teams contesting highly competitive national TCR series this season in order to aid them at the foundation of their professional racing careers with the goal of winning 2023 titles.
The programme is an extension of the existing Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative, which has already seen considerable success in the TCR category. German Luca Engstler achieved multiple national titles and a full-time drive in the FIA WTCR – World Touring Car Cup through his participation, whilst Czech Elantra N TCR driver Jáchym Galáš celebrated his a TCR Europe race win in 2022.
For 2023 the focus of the Junior Teams programme will fall on two highly competitive national TCR championships – TCR Italy and TCR UK. Hyundai Motorsport customers have already enjoyed significant success in both series. In Italy, Target Competition have won the teams’ crown for the past two seasons, while drivers Antti Buri and Niels Langeveld lifted the individual title in 2021 and 2022 respectively. The Bolzano-based squad, who have also claimed a TCR Europe title with Hyundai Motorsport cars, will be responsible for running the Junior Team in the series for 2023.
Target Competition will run two Elantra N TCR for a pair of 17-year-old drivers – Junui Park and Marco Butti. It will be South Korean Park’s first season racing in Europe, though he already has an excellent record in his home country. In 2022 he claimed the title in the single-make Avante N Cup and was selected by a panel – including Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Cisotti and 2018 WTCR winner Gabriele Tarquini – for the opportunity to build a racing career in Europe.
Park will be joined by Italian Marco Butti. Despite his young age, Butti has already become a regular in the TCR ranks – racing in TCR Italy last year, as well as TCR Europe where he scored a collection of top ten finishes. 2023 will be his first season in the Elantra N TCR, having previously driven the i30 N TCR in domestic competition.
In the UK, customers have made Hyundai Motorsport-built cars some of the most successful in the series, with Essex and Kent Motorsport’s Lewis Kent winning the 2020 and 2021 titles with an i30 N TCR. The outfit, with Lewis’ younger brother Bradley, will be one half of the Junior Team line-up on the grid for 2023, entering a Veloster N TCR. Set to start his third season in the championship, Brit Bradley has already scored three race wins in the series, and will now move into the car that his brother took to a pair of victories in 2022.
The other half of the Junior Team line-up will be Daniel James Motorsport driver Alex Ley. Though the 17-year-old British driver missed the first round of the championship in 2022, and was only starting his first season in TCR competition, he became the youngest ever winner of a TCR race in his second weekend in the series. In total he still won three races during the season – the most of any driver on the grid – including an impressive lights-to-flag victory in the July heat at Oulton Park, which also included fastest lap.
For 2023 Ley will stay with the same i30 N TCR he drove last season, but now with the additional year of experience and support of the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Team programme behind him.
Work for the drivers within the Junior Teams has already begun, with testing in Italy together with highly experienced Hyundai Motorsport customers, working together with 2018 WTCR winner Gabriele Tarquini and the Customer Racing department’s dedicated support engineers.
Further test days are planned during the year ahead, together with opportunities for media and fitness training to help the four drivers build the full range of skills needed to forge a professional racing career.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Cisotti said: “The support we can offer all our customers, and our chosen Junior Drivers in particular, is a vital part of the work of the Customer Racing department. The addition of Junior Team programme adds further to the support we can offer our customers racing in TCR series. From their experiences we know that while both TCR Italy and TCR UK are incredibly competitive, Hyundai Motorsport-built cars have the strength to contend for race wins and championship titles. The additional support we can offer as part of our Junior Teams initiative at the race track and throughout the season should provide the crucial boost to the drivers, not just for 2023, but in their future careers too.”
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About Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
Established on 19 December 2012, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH is responsible for Hyundai’s global motorsport activities, including the FIA World Rally Championship, FIA ETCR – eTouring Car World Cup, and Customer Racing projects. Hyundai Motorsport quickly established a strong reputation in WRC, finishing as runners-up in the manufacturers’ championship on three consecutive occasions between 2016 and 2018 before claiming the title in 2019 and 2020. The company then embraced the all-new technical challenge of WRC’s hybrid era in 2022, resulting in the birth of the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid. Since the establishment of its Customer Racing activities in September 2015, Hyundai Motorsport has become a trusted partner for teams and drivers looking for success on the rally stages or on racetracks around the world. From its competitive i20 N Rally2 to the front-running Elantra N TCR, Hyundai Motorsport-built cars have claimed victory in several championships, including national rally series in France and Spain, as well as titles in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) in 2018, 2019 and 2022. Designed and built at its Alzenau headquarters, the Veloster N ETCR heralded an exciting new era in 2019, in which electric racing became one of the company’s pillars. Embarking on its tenth year in 2023, Hyundai Motorsport continues to unify WRC, Customer Racing, and electric racing, which play instrumental roles in driving Hyundai’s global high-performance N brand and are supporting an important perception shift for the Hyundai brand around the world.
Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at: http://motorsport.hyundai.com
About Hyundai Motor Company
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is present in over 200 countries with more than 120,000 employees dedicated to tackling real-world mobility challenges around the globe. Based on the brand vision ‘Progress for Humanity,' Hyundai Motor is accelerating its transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. The company invests in advanced technologies such as robotics and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) to bring about revolutionary mobility solutions, while pursuing open innovation to introduce future mobility services. In pursuit of sustainable future for the world, Hyundai will continue its efforts to introduce zero emission vehicles equipped with industry-leading hydrogen fuel cell and EV technologies.
More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com/
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