Over the past six months, Hyundai has propelled itself into the international motorsports spotlight. Their race cars have been driving circles around the competition, and that performance has trickled down into their road cars. Hyundai is making one of the most significant efforts in the enthusiast market, and in a short time, they have built a loyal and engaging fan base. The big question is, how did Hyundai go from a cast-aside brand to arguably the most influential newcomer in the performance market?
This year Hyundai took things to the next level. For 2019 they unveiled the redesigned Veloster with a variety of sporty trims; the Turbo, Turbo R-Spec(one of which I own), as well as the Veloster N. All three trim levels cater to different enthusiast markets with the Turbo being an easy entry model for the average consumer, the Turbo R-Spec being a stripped-down sportier model of the Turbo and finally the Veloster N, being the balls to the wall track monster. Hyundai knew that the American market was not as aware of the pedigree for performance that Hyundai has earned over the years and decided the best way to show what they could do was take the Veloster racing.
Hyundai partnered up with Bryan Herta Autosport once again to compete in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Watching the Veloster chew up the track throughout the season was some of the best racing I've seen in recent years. Drivers of the #98 car, Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis, managed to rocket forward and take the driver's championship with the drivers of the #21 car, Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker, not far behind, taking the second place on the podium.
Hyundai's commitment to motorsport is admirable, and they don't show any signs of slowing down either, as they have just been announced to be the first manufacturer to factory-back a race car in the World Time Attack Challenge. Hyundai has done everything right when it comes to pleasing the enthusiast market. They test and prove their technology on the race track and then use that knowledge to develop innovating and engaging road cars. This combination of full investment in motorsport and building engaging road cars has Hyundai on the rise to be the next major player in the sports car market. Personally, I cant wait to see what comes next
William Van Essen
William Van Essen is an automotive marketer, photographer, and avid car enthusiast. He spends most of his time off watching racing or going to events to take photos of the racing in person. He has been in love with anything that goes "vroom" since he was a toddler playing hot wheels in the living room.