Hyundai Motorsport GmbH says it is committed to its three-year World Rally Championship program starting in 2014, but admits timing is tight.
Hyundai Motorsport public relations manager Thomas Villette told CarAdvice that Hyundai’s decision to enter the 2014 WRC without a predetermined structure in place was intentional.
“So what we are doing at the moment is unlike any other manufacturer in this space,” Villette said.
“We are building a testing program that needs to be ready for Monte Carlo in January, but at the same time we are putting together our own team.”
Hyundai will test run at least two specially developed three-door i20 hatchbacks, with FIA homologation, by October 30 this year.
Although there are three factory test drivers currently employed by Hyundai Motorsport, including former Australian WRC driver Chris Atkinson, there has been no indication as to who will pilot the team’s two entries.
The headquarters for Hyundai’s global motorsport division is a huge facility at Alzenau, Germany, that is large enough to house additional motorsport programs such as GT racing and even Formula One.
Officially opened in January, there are currently 80 employees, with plans to expand the team to 150 by January 2014.
An insider has told CarAdvice that Hyundai will spend at least $30 million on its WRC program during its first season – well short of the $80 million Volkswagen is rumoured to be spending.
At least six of the i20 WRC cars are currently being built at the facility at a cost of around 500,000 euro ($720,000) each.
Despite the short timeframe, Hyundai appears happy with the testing progress so far and cites over 3000km have already been covered, with plenty more to go in a schedule that demands further testing every two weeks.
Hyundai’s expectations for the 2014 season are modest according to Hyundai Motorsport team manager Alain Petasse, who told CarAdvice that his expectations “are to build a strong team and get some good results – and one or two podiums, perhaps”.