The Hyundai N Festival - which first started in 2019 with the slogan ‘a motorsports festival that anyone who likes cars can easily participate in' - now has become the largest one-make racing in Korea and will become the new hot potato. In 2022, there will be a new Avante(Elantra) N Cup where professional drivers can participate, making it even more thrilling for motorsport fans.
The Veloster N Cup and Avante N Line Cup so far were a stage where amateur drivers competed for their driving skills by using mass-produced cars with minimal tuning for safety. On the other hand, the Avante N Cup expands the range that can be equipped with dedicated racing parts and is prepared as a new stage for professional drivers as well as amateur drivers who want more extreme motorsports activities. Here are the characteristics of the Avante N Cup One-Make Race Car to be used next year, and the details of the new 2022 Hyundai N Festival.
The first time the Avante N Cup One Make Race Car was unveiled was in the 4th round of the Hyundai N Festival held at Inje Speedium last August. At that time, the release of the Avante N-cup race car was a surprise showcase, and it was enough to capture the interest of motorsports fans who were enjoying the live online broadcast as well as the players at the site and event officials. It wasn't just because of the N brand's signature color, Performance Blue, and Hyundai's beloved WRC and WTCR Livery (stickers). The real cause was the amazing performance that recorded the Inje Speedium lap time of 1:46-47 seconds in the sweltering heat of August.
Four months have passed since then, and a strong first impression of the Avante N Cup race car was revealed at an event prepared for the participating teams and drivers of the 2022 Hyundai N Festival Avante N Cup. It was a place prepared to experience and take a closer look at the prototype of the Avante N-cup race car, which went into final inspection before the official launch in March next year.
The Avante N Cup race car is tuned - lightweight, body robustness, and performance refinement - from mass-produced Avante N focusing only on circuit driving. The first thing we see from the body is the slick tire, exclusively developed for circuits, in collaboration with Hankook Tire for the Avante N-cup race car. It may be vulnerable to vibration, noise, and durability, but it features high traction in high-speed driving and cornering. The size of the slick tire installed on the Avante N-cup race car is 240/640R 18, and the wheels will be 18-inch with a rim width of 9J and an offset of 45 to fit a wide tire.
Alcon TA6+ brake calipers with six pistons are mounted inside the front wheel, combined with large-diameter discs for stable braking performance. Matching pads with 6P calipers are Pagid RST products developed for the rally and sprint races; It is divided depending on friction force, responsiveness, and fade resistance, under the different product numbers from 1 to 5. Drivers of the Avante N Cup race car can choose one of the pads - No. 1 and No. 5 - with consistently high levels of performance even at high temperatures.
One of the major refinements to install slick tires is the suspension. High friction is very important for a slick tire to provide a sticky grip and sharp handling performance during circuit driving, unlike the basic characteristics of a tire that reduces vibration and shock. So it is necessary to change the suspension, not to put too much pressure on the suspension that connects the body and the tire, and to fully derive the performance of the slick tire.
The Avante N Cup race car is equipped with a KW Competition shock absorber developed for racing purposes, and a total of 16 pillow balls are applied to the part that connects to the suspension to realize performance optimized for circuit driving. The damping force can be adjusted through the KW shock absorber, and the camber value (the measure in degrees of the difference between the wheels vertical alignment perpendicular to the surface) can be freely set within the range of -4 to -5° by the drivers. In addition, four types of springs feature different characteristics. Other than the two brake pads, it is intended to make the race more interesting through various strategies and operating methods by allowing drivers to freely set the suspension settings that have a great impact on the car's handling performance.
At the front, the intake vent for cooling the brake on the front bumper and the duct above the bonnet definitely stand out. These are intake vents to secure the braking performance of the brake and the holes for discharging heat from the engine room - both essential under harsh race conditions.
Above the trunk is a large CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) rear spoiler. It is also called Swan Neck because the shape of the support resembles the neck of a swan. It is an aerodynamic part that can create a strong downforce that will attach the body to the road surface even in situations where you need quick cornering. In the Avante N Cup race car, aerodynamic parts other than the rear spoiler were not installed.
In order to reduce the weight of the interior, the interior materials, rear seats, and trunk finishing materials have all been removed. Except for the windshield, the windows were also replaced with lightweight polycarbonate materials, and the bonnet was also remade from FRP (glass-fiber reinforced plastic) material. As a result of such extensive weight reduction in and out of the car, the Avante N Cup race car was able to reduce its weight to 1,300 kg, which is 185 kg less than the current Avante N (8-speed DCT model, 1,485 kg).
The steering wheel was also changed for motorsports, and a six-point roll cage was installed for improved body rigidity and driver safety. On the left side of the LCD dashboard is a data logger for driving records. This will be used as data for post-race inspection as well as record measurements of individual drivers.
The Avante N Cup race car uses the current model's powertrain (2.0ℓ flat power turbo engine, 8-speed DCT) as it is, and features output and torque by about 10% with adjusted software such as ECU, TCU, ABS, and e-LSD. Since the mapping work is done by Hyundai Motor Company Namyang Technology Research Center rather than a private company, it is more complete and stable.
The teams cannot tune their race cars once they are out of the factory with their powertrains sealed thoroughly, and any kind of changes in output performance will be detected by the data logger, resulting in penalties. This is to keep the spirit of One Make Racing - every driver should use the race cars delivering the same performance. In addition, maintenance and management costs are relatively cheaper than other professional motorsport competitions since the manufacturer guarantees the quality of tuning parts and performance, and it can also deal with problems regarding the race cars more swiftly.
After examining the Avante N-cup race car undergoing the final tuning, luckily, I was able to sit in the front passenger seat during the test drive. Il-gi Oh of the Purple Motorsport team, one of the historical icons of Korean motorsports, sat behind the wheels. The Avante N-cup race car driven by a veteran driver was completely different from a mass-produced car - explosive acceleration, the robust braking force that feels like drilling the ground, the solidity of the body perfected with integrated suspension and roll cage, and the feeling of a slick tire gripping the road surface even in high-speed corners. To add a bit more exaggeration, the Avante N-cup race car felt like it was somewhere between the Veloster N for one-make race and the TCR race car.
Thanks to this powerful Avante N-cup race car, the Hyundai N Festival is expected to be significantly upgraded. First of all, the quality of the race cars has greatly improved, and professional teams, as well as amateur drivers who have proven their skills in the current one-make race, are expected to participate. According to the announcement, not only strong teams such as Solite Indigo Racing, Atlas BX Motorsports, and Seohan GP, but also teams from CJ Korea Express Super Race, the best motorsports competition in Korea, will participate.
The Avante N Cup will be a sprint race like the Veloster N Cup and Avante N Line Cup, but the details have not been settled yet. However, in the final match, the professional class and the amateur class will compete together. Currently, there are 30 drivers who have decided to participate in the Avante N Cup, and the number of professional and amateur drivers is the same, but this may change later. As the level of the competition increases, more professional drivers may participate in the future, and even other Veloster N Cup Masters Class drivers may also join depending on how they performed in the competition.
If the participation of highly skilled drivers becomes active, there will be more exciting things to see. Accordingly, the organizers of the Hyundai N Festival are also looking for ways for more people to enjoy it. They will use a variety of means to bring more audiences to the circuit and attract more motorsport fans to live TV in addition to the current YouTube live broadcast. The Avante N Cup, Veloster N Cup, and Avante N Line Cup of Hyundai N Festival, which will open at Inje Speedium on May 6, 2022, will be even more exciting.
Photograph by Beomseok Kim and Hyundai N Festival
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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