Hyundai has just released a series of photos of its 2022 Rally1 World Rally Championship challenger running through its paces. This bad boy is a hybrid prototype based on the i20 N. And it looks like a hell of a lot of fun on the gravel roads in the south of France.
The World Rally Championship announced earlier this year that several of its competitors are making a swap to hybrid power, a transition that the series has been working toward since 2019. We’ve seen Hyundai’s Rally2 car previously, which will be run by private teams rather than manufacturer-based teams, but this is the first time we have a glimpse of the Rally1 machine.
Rather than a traditional hybrid, the WRC is opting for a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which means that electric power is sourced via charging, not through the function of the combustion engine. It also means electric power can be used entirely on its own—but we’re more likely to see the series opt for a more truly hybrid style of racing.
We’re still waiting on specifics, but WRC specs mandate a 3.9 kWh battery, a power inverter, and a 650-volt motor fitted near the rear axle. We can expect the cars to produce about 134 horsepower and 133 lb-ft of torque solely from the electric motor.
“It’s a special moment when you take a car to the road for the first time and as always there are some challenges to face,” said Hyundai Team Principal Andrea Adamo. “In the case of our 2022 Rally1 challenger, we are starting from scratch with brand-new rules, a different concept and a new base model – the i20 N. It was thrilling to kick-off the testing and to start this exciting new adventure.”
He added, “We have seen interesting things, some that need to be changed and improved but it is all part of the process and of the job. The team has done an amazing job and has worked so hard to prepare the car for the first test in such a short amount of time. Of course, we are just at the beginning of a long journey, but I do think we have some interesting times ahead of us before Rallye Monte-Carlo 2022.”