Hyundai N Festival is the largest one-make race in Korea. It is a motorsports festival with amateurs and pros alike. This year, 7 rounds will be held at Inje Speedium Circuit and Yeongam Korea International Circuit. Round 2 is now over, and round 3 will be held in Yeongam from July 1st to 3rd.
As is well known, a one-make race is a race in which all participants use the same vehicle. Participants compete for driving skills under the same conditions - all cars must have the same modifications required for the race. Therefore, a one-make race is different from an ordinary car race. In an ordinary race, the performance of a race car is as important as the driver’s skill. To win, you have to invest in performance as well. However, one-make races like Hyundai N Festival do not allow tuning restricted by regulations. So, the cost of participation is relatively low. This drives the active participation of amateurs.
Hyundai N Festival is open to everyone. It is divided into a time trial, an introductory course on circuit driving, and a sprint-style race. The race starts with the N3 class, the Avante N-Line Cup, and goes up to the N2 class, the Veloster N Cup, and the N1 class, the Avante N Cup. Avante N-Line Time Trial is a race for beginners, so you can participate with minimal tunings such as tires and brakes. One car is enough for commuting during the week and racing on the weekends.
A time trial is a race that records the fastest lap time within a set time. To get a good record, you need to drive on the most ideal course. However, it is not easy to find a racing line because many cars run together. So, you have to consider your distance between the competitors so you don’t overlap with them; and then you have to get your best record when the time comes. These experiences make you a true racer.
After you have become familiar with circuits and race cars through time trials, you can participate in a mixed sprint race. Grids are assigned in the order in which they came first through the preliminary rounds, and in the finals, they start at the same time and go around the set laps to rank those who passed the finish line. It is a competition that requires all kinds of driving skills and strategic battles to overtake and defend.
On the other hand, if you want to move from the Avante N-Line Time Trial to the Avante N-Line Cup, you only need to install an additionally assembled roll cage for safety. A roll cage is a structure installed in a cabin, and is a safety device that protects occupants by maintaining shape when the vehicle rolls due to an accident such as a collision.
After building up your skills through time trials, you don’t need a lot of additional tuning to advance to the sprint race. Also, in order to participate in a sprint race in the N2 or N3 class, you must first gain experience through time trials. So, many drivers participate in a time trial to experience circuit driving before going to the N3 or N2 class.
So many racers participate in the Hyundai N Festival. Social workers who seek new goals and challenge themselves, professional drivers who want to prove their skills in the best positions, and young racers who aspire to advance into the world are running in search of their dreams in each class. It is fulfilling its role as a competition that which anyone who loves motor sports can participate.
The Avante N Cup, the highest class of the Hyundai N Festival, is a stage for professional drivers and those who want to engage in more serious motorsports activities. The Avante N-cup race car used in the Avante N-cup is Korea’s first ‘factory-tuned one-make race car,’ and Hyundai has tuned them only for circuit driving.
So, what is the difference between the Avante N and the Avante N Cup race car? Just from its appearance, the Avante N-cup race car reminds us of a race car. The front bumper and bonnet have an intake vent for brake cooling to cool the heat generated during circuit driving and a duct for exhausting heat from the engine room. And on the trunk, a rear spoiler made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) that uses air resistance to increase traction at the rear of the body is housed. And on the trunk is a rear spoiler made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) that uses air resistance to increase traction at the rear of the body.
In the interior, all but essential parts of the race have been removed, creating a sense of tension. In order to reduce the weight of the Avante N-cup race car, the passenger and rear seats and the rest of the interior materials were removed, and a 6-point roll cage was installed to protect the driver. In addition, the windows except for the windshield have been replaced with lightweight polycarbonate materials, and the bonnet with Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). Thanks to this, the Avante N Cup race car weighs only 1,300 kg, which is 185 kg lighter than the Avante N DCT model.
The Avante N-cup race car changes direction with great agility. This is thanks to the combination of the 240/640 R18 size slick tire developed by Hyundai Motor Company in collaboration with Hankook Tire and the KW Competition shock absorber developed for racing. For a better record, you also need a brake that reduces speed swiftly. Alcon TA6+ brake calipers with 6 pistons and brake discs designed to fit them are installed inside the front wheel of the Avante N-cup race car.
The most impressive part of the Avante N-cup race car is that it uses the drivetrain of the current model as it is. The in-line four-cylinder 2.0L flat power turbo engine and eight-speed DCT remain untouched. With only minor modifications to software such as ECU (Engine Control Unit), TCU (Transmission Control Unit), ABS (Brake Lock Prevention System), and e-LSD (Electronic Differential Limiter), it produces a maximum output of about 310 horsepower. The ECU was directly refined by Hyundai Motor Company’s Namyang Technology Research Center.
As such, although the Avante N Cup race car and the Avante N look different, they are technically the same car. Although some parts were replaced for racing, the body frame and drivetrain - crucial to the car’s performance - are the same. This means that the Avante N shows excellent basic performance - except that it is comfortable in everyday life.
At the start of the 2022 Hyundai N Festival, Hyundai opened a special space called ‘Hyundai N Lounge’ for N brand customers and motorsport fans who visit the circuit. N Lounge consists of the ‘Lounge,’ a resting space, and the ‘Test Lab,’ which Hyundai Motor researchers can use as a base camp for driving tests.
The lounge is open to N brand customers as well as anyone visiting the Inje Circuit. It is open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, and anyone can enter without a reservation. Considering the fact that the visitors often take a break in the car due to the lack of resting space in the circuit area, the N Lounge will become a resting place for all car enthusiasts visiting the Inje Circuit.
N Lounge also attracts attention with its sensuous interior design. Mesh and metal materials are used throughout the interior to emphasize the sporty image, while lighting and chairs in Performance Blue color create a calm and cozy mood. On the wall, the official N brand uniform and parts are displayed, and visitors can enjoy virtual driving in a simulator that allows a circuit experience.
The test lab is a space for researchers’ driving tests, but unless there is a separate schedule, it is open to N brand customers who have made a reservation in advance. Available hours are 09:00-13:00 in the morning and 14:00-17:30 in the afternoon, and can accommodate up to 2 cars and up to 16 people. It’s like creating a hideout on the circuit. Light maintenance required for circuit driving is possible in the test lab. However, the lift can only be used by customers who have a license as an automobile mechanic.
Hyundai plans to make N lounge a place of relaxation and a circuit culture experience. They plan to introduce various contents such as the Avante N-cup race car taxi in the circuit or a circuit test drive in the N models. As such, Hyundai is carrying out various activities for motorsports. If the number of car enthusiasts running on the circuit increases, motorsports will be activated, which will further mature our automobile culture. Let’s look forward to the day the drivers from Hyundai N Festival stand on the world stage.
Photography by Jin-Ho Choi
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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