The TCR touring car class of this year’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will certainly be worth a watch. Already confirmed are stripped out and beefed-up versions of the Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Audi RS3, and now Hyundai’s N division is joining the party.
The Korean performance brand is on a roll. The i30N road car is a mini masterpiece and the Fastback version has proven that N can do design as well as drama.
Neither of those cars are sold in America though, so Hyundai set about developing a touring car based on something that punters could actually get their hands on. So while Europe watches the i30N TCR race, America will see the Veloster N TCR compete. The two share around 85 per cent of their components.
The road car upon which it is based is no longer sold in the UK, but Hyundai is pressing on with their funky asymmetric-doored coupe across the Atlantic.
To compete with its rivals on the track, Hyundai’s engineers have turned the Veloster’s 2.0-litre turbo up to 350bhp - up from 271bhp - and teamed that with a six-speed sequential gearbox, as well as some striking arch extensions.
Two cars will be run in the Michelin Pilot Challenge and both will be operated by Bryan Herta Autosport. We can only assume there was a monumental split down the office at some point though, as one will be driven by veterans Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins whereas the other will be piloted by youngsters Mason Filippi (20) and Harry Gottsacker (18). An intriguing inter-team battle nestled among the wider competition between Hyundai and its rivals, then.
The Veloster N TCR won’t be exclusive to the US, though. If you’ve got yourself a private race team and €135,000 (who doesn’t?) then you too can run one is the i30N TCR isn’t quite glamorous enough.