With the hot hatch seemingly an on again off again trend here in the United States, Hyundai made the decision to keep their i30N for foreign markets only. But to compete in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge this year, the Korean manufacturer has decided to create a radical race car based on a model that US customers can purchase at their local Hyundai dealer, the Veloster.
The Veloster N TCR has been tuned by Hyundai's N division and will be raced by Bryan Herta Autosport. Hyundai unveiled the racing version of the Veloster N at the 2019 North American International Auto Show, complete with a plethora of track-specific details they hope will be able to keep it competitive against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Audi RS3, and the Honda Civic Type R.
Two cars will compete, with one driven by Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins and the other helmed by Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker. On the track, the 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine that the Veloster utilizes will be tuned up to around 350 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque (compared to 250 and 260, respectively, on road-going examples). A sequential gearbox will route that power to the ground but it's the exterior revisions that help the Veloster look the business.
Admittedly odd from the factory, the Veloster that debuted at NAIAS featured hardcore fender flares, accentuated air inlets up front and a pair of hood vents, not to mention an enormous rear wing at the tail. A body skirt around the edges should additionally keep the little hatch planted, while the interior has been upgraded with a six-point harness and a roll cage, as required by safety regulations.
In 2018, Hyundai entered a duo of i30N TCR cars in the Pirelli World Challenge, again partnered with Brian Herta Autosport, and won a championship. It remains to be seen how well the Veloster's setup will compare when it hits the tarmac on January 25 of this year at the Daytona International Speedway. For huge Hyundai fans, the brand has even revealed they will sell homologation specials at $155,000 a pop, about five times the starting price of a Veloster N, which stickers at $26,900.