Battery-Powered Racer Will Turn Laps at Daytona Prior to Michelin Pilot Challenge Opener
By John Oreovicz
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Since launching its in-house performance tuning division in 2018, Hyundai has become synonymous with the letter “N.”
Now, the Korean manufacturer is helping IMSA introduce the letter “E” to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Twice-defending Rolex 24 At Daytona class winner Augusto Farfus is slated to perform exhibition laps in an electrified Hyundai Veloster N ETCR prior to the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, the BMW Endurance Challenge, at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 29. The battery-powered racer has been built to the specifications of the WSC (World Sporting Consulting) Pure ETCR series that is set to debut later this year.
With much of the automotive industry trending toward electrification, the Hyundai demonstration run will give IMSA and its fans their first opportunity to see (and hear) an electric touring car in action.
Along with a custom Enel X ETCR charger, the car was shipped from Luxembourg on a Boeing 747 freighter, arriving in Florida on Thursday.
“IMSA is honored to introduce ETCR to North America through this demonstration and our exclusive partnership with WSC just prior to the launch of our 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “We are grateful to our partners at WSC and are eager to see what the future holds for ETCR here in IMSA.”
The Veloster ETCR car looks similar to the Veloster N TCR that competes in the Pilot Challenge Touring Car (TCR) class. Under the skin, however, the ETCR is radically different.
Instead of a turbocharged, four-cylinder gasoline engine driving the front wheels, the ETCR features a mid-mounted electric motor powering the rear wheels. ETCR competitors must use series-issued power components but enjoy a great deal of freedom in terms of the overall layout of the car.
The gas-powered Veloster N TCR has claimed the TCR driver and team championships the last two years in Pilot Challenge. Hyundai officials are confident the electrified version will be equally competitive in Pure ETCR.
“The demonstration run at Daytona is a great opportunity for those behind the ETCR regulations and for us at Hyundai to show the excellent performance the Veloster N ETCR is capable of,” said Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport team principal. “We are honored to have been invited to showcase the car in front of the fans and race teams who will be there.”
Farfus has been linked with BMW since 2007. In addition to teaming with BMW Team RLL in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to claim GT Le Mans class honors at the Rolex 24 in 2019 and ’20, his achievements for the German marque include 14 World Touring Car Championship race wins and four victories in the German-based DTM series.
Farfus and Nicky Catsburg (who competes in WeatherTech Championship GTLM endurance races for Corvette Racing) won the four-round 2020 Intercontinental GT challenge for GT3 cars.
The 37-year old Brazilian has worked with Hyundai since 2019 and is an eager participant in developing the Veloster N ETCR.
“Being invited to run a demonstration at Daytona is a big opportunity to show the Veloster N ETCR to the world,” Farfus said. “Through the testing we have already completed, we know some of what it is very capable of putting on a good display, and the track at Daytona should let us show both the superb acceleration and the top speed.
“I think being able to see the car will create some great interest in the car and the category, at a big event for motorsport in the U.S. and internationally.”