Thierry Neuville and Norbert Michelisz will swap cars for a special event at Circuit Zolder during this weekend’s FIA ETCR event.
The exciting demonstration on Saturday afternoon will bring together the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR and Hyundai i20 N Rally1 for the first time, with Belgian driver Neuville and 2019 WTCR champion Michelisz driving each other’s cars for the first time.
The fully electric-powered, rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Veloster N ETCR has a peak power output of 500kw (670hp), compared to the 100kw (134hp) boost from the electric motor of the hybrid Rally1 car, on top of a 380hp internal combustion engine sending power to all four wheels. The hybrid system also gives the car a maximum range of 20km in full-electric mode, which is used in the Service Park and designated road sections as well as providing a performance boost on the stages. The rally car is lighter of the two by nearly 600kg, with the suspension to deal with the type of rough gravel roads common on WRC events.
Neuville said: “The car swap in Zolder should be a lot of fun for me and Norbi as drivers, but also for the spectators. The Hyundai Veloster N ETCR should be very interesting. With 500kw it’s very powerful, but it’s also much heavier, so I can’t wait to find out how it accelerates and handles around the circuit. It will also be fun to get Norbi into the Rally1 car, just like for me, for him it’s going to jumping into something completely different. It will be nice to bring somebody new into ‘my office’ and see his reaction to the latest breed of WRC cars.”
Michelisz said: “It’s going to be an interesting experience to drive the Hyundai i20 N Rally1. The WRC cars always look spectacular, and the new cars for 2022 are no exception. Hopefully, Thierry can give me some tips to get the best from the car and we can both have some fun and put on a show for everyone. Driving in FIA ETCR this year is my first season racing with electric power, so the car swap will be my first time with a hybrid motorsport car. It’s going to be really interesting to see how it feels with the extra boost, especially with a hybrid system on the horizon for TCR cars in the near future.”
Picture: Hyundai Motorsport