Hyundai May Be Headed to Le Mans in 2026

2023 hyundai elantra n
Hyundai May Be Headed to Le Mans In 2026DW Burnett

Over the past decade years, Hyundai has made a major effort to add performance and premium offerings to its typical lineup of volume cars. Some of the resulting projects, like the GV70 from the relatively new Genesis brand and the sensational Ioniq 5 N from Hyundai's performance imprint N, are standouts already. Cars like that are usually tied to auto racing, and one thing Hyundai does not have is a top-class, closed-circuit racing program. That may be changing very soon.

A report from Sportscar365 suggests that Hyundai could be building an LMDh car by 2026, meaning that the brand could enter the top class in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the IMSA sports car series. That comes just a day after Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported that Hyundai Motorsports boss Cyril Abiteboul attended this year's Le Mans to explore the possibility.

Hyundai would join BMW, Acura, Cadillac, Porsche, Alpine, and Lamborghini in building a car to the LMDh specifications. Ferrari, Peugeot, Toyota, and soon Aston Martin all compete directly against those cars in their own cars built to the equal-but-unrelated LMH rule set. LMDh rules dictate that a team start with one of four chassis options built by a dedicated constructor, and the reports suggest that either Oreca or Dallara will be chosen for this project. Oreca currently builds cars for both Acura and Alpine, while Dallara builds cars for both BMW and Cadillac.


Both reports also suggest that power will come from an engine developed by Pipo Moteurs, the manufacturer behind the engine in the short-lived Glickenhaus SCG 007 racer. The program would compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA. The German report suggests that the IMSA program would be Genesis-branded, while the European operation would race in both the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans under the Hyundai badge.

Hyundai currently competes in the FIA World Rally Championship and various TCR categories around the world. In America, its TCR operations are currently run by Bryan Herta Autosport. Sportscar365 suggests that outgoing Cadillac partner Chip Ganassi Racing is in the running to operate at least Hyundai's IMSA operation, if not also its European program.

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