Hyundai withdraws customer teams from Nurburgring WTCR ahead of practice

Rachit Thukral
·2 min read
Hyundai withdraws customer teams from Nurburgring WTCR
Hyundai withdraws customer teams from Nurburgring WTCR

Hyundai has decided to withdraw its customer teams from this weekend's World Touring Car Cup event at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, saying it's "not made to feel welcome" in the series.

In a short statement released just prior to first practice at the German venue, Hyundai said it believes it is unfairly treated by the series.

The comments follow a difficult start to the new WTCR season for Hyundai at Zolder, as the best Hyundai finisher was Norbert Michelisz in eighth in the second race.

It marked a massive downturn in performance for the South Korean manufacturer, which propelled Michelisz to the drivers' title and the BRC squad to second place in the teams' championship last year.

It is understood that Hyundai's grievance has its roots in BoP rules and a new ECU system, which it believes has made the i30 N TCR package uncompetitive against the six other cars present in the series.

"Hyundai Motorsport has announced that our customer teams will not participate in WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Germany (24-26 September)," a statement read.

"Hyundai Motorsport has the feeling that neither the company nor our customer teams are given equal treatment in the series to other competitors and are not made to feel welcome.

"We remain committed to demonstrating the high-performance credentials of our racing vehicles on an international stage, in series that are reflective of Hyundai's N brand."

Hyundai withdraws customer teams from Nurburgring WTCR
Hyundai withdraws customer teams from Nurburgring WTCR

Hyundai is represented in WTCR by BRC and Engstler teams, each of which fields two cars in the championship.

Michelisz is Hyundai's top driver in the standings' after the opening round of the championship, sitting in 11th place with 13 points, 30 down on points leader Yann Ehrlacher of Cyan Racing Lynk and Co.

The two Hyundai teams Engstler and BRC occupy seventh and eighth in the championship with 20 and 17 points respectively.

By comparison, Cyan Racing leads the title race with 74 points.

Munnich Honda driver Nestor Girolami and Ehrlacher won one race apiece in the WTCR season opener, with Girolami's victory putting him second in the championship, seven points down on Ehrlacher.

The second round of the season is part of the support bill of the Nurburgring 24 Hours and features two sprint races, one each on Friday and Saturday.

Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus