After taking class podiums in each of the last two editions of the race Hyundai Motorsport will return to the Nürburgring 24 Hours this year with a two-car entry.
The team will run one example each of the i30 N TCR and Veloster N TCR, the two TCR-specification designs sold by the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department. With a strong driver line-up in both cars the aim will be to improve on the second place scored by the Veloster N TCR in the 2019 event.
The seven drivers will be led by Manuel Lauck, who will take stints in both cars during the event. A part of the Hyundai TCR crews for the Nürburgring 24 Hours and VLN events in the past two seasons Lauck has considerable experience on the Nordschleife in a wide range of machinery. In the i30 N TCR he will be joined by FIA World Touring Car Cup driver Luca Engstler and TCR Germany regulars Antti Buri and Hari Proczyk. Engstler and Proczyk are familiar faces behind the wheel of the i30 N TCR. The former has taken wins with the car in national and regional series in Europe and Asia before his graduation to the WTCR for grid this season. Proczyk, meanwhile, returns to the 24 Hours after racing with the team a year ago. He is now in his second season with an i30 N TCR in TCR Germany, and scored his first win of the season in August on the sprint layout of the Nürburgring Grand Prix track.
Buri is a new recruit to the ranks of i30 N TCR customers for 2020 as part of the Hyundai Team Engstler squad for TCR Germany. However, the Finnish driver already has experience of the Nordschleife, after racing as a wildcard entry in the WTCR races at the circuit last year.
Sharing the Veloster N TCR with Lauck will be three other drivers who were part of the Hyundai Motorsport team for the race last year. 2012 overall winner Marc Basseng and Moritz Oestreich both reprise their roles with the car after being part of the 2nd placed line-up in 2019. Joining them will be Peter Terting. For him this will be a first N24 outing with the Veloster after starring in the i30 N TCR for the previous two years, including setting the fastest lap for the class last year at a staggering 8:55.163 during qualifying.
Lauck, Basseng and Engstler have already had success at the track this season. They completed a trouble-free run in the recent six-hour VLN5 race on the Nordschleife where the Veloster N TCR finished inside the top-40 overall, outpacing all of the similar-spec cars on the 150 strong entry list.
With a pair of such strong entries Hyundai Motorsport aims to overcome the disappointment of 2019 when, despite leading for long periods of the race, the teams finished only second and third in class. However, the Nordschleife and the 24 Hours particularly are notoriously grueling and unpredictable with around 160 teams sharing the track each year. To this challenge the 2020 edition adds an extra element. Postponed from its traditional spring date drivers and teams now face several hours longer than expected racing in darkness around the 25km circuit, while the famously changeable Eifel weather is almost certain to take a role in the action during the weekend.
For the race the cars are equipped with the same package of endurance options offered to customers competing in long-distance championships This adds an ABS system, additional lights and a quick refueling system to the incredibly successful packages which have won championships around the world, including back-to-back FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers’ titles at the highest level of international Touring Car competition.
Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal said: “The Nürburgring 24 Hours is always one of the most challenging races of the season, and this year it will be even tougher for everyone as it is later in the year. In our team we have all the ingredients to be able to win the class. We have an excellent driver line-up for the event, and the performance of the i30 N TCR and Veloster N TCR is undoubted, as we have seen several times both on the Nordschleife and in TCR series around the world. However, in the past we have experienced how unpredictable this race can be, so we take nothing for granted. We had a good result in VLN5 to prepare for the 24 Hours, so we are hopeful of being able to add to the story of Hyundai and N at the Nürburgring.“