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Hyundai is shaking down its new hot hatch at the N24

Upcoming i30 ‘N’ and friends are off to Nürburgring racing boot camp. Gulp

Hyundai has announced – bravely – that its new i30 N hot hatch is heading for the Nürburgring 24 hours this weekend. If you can’t place the i30 N in your mind’s eye, that’s because it’s not even out yet. Hyundai is using one of the world’s most infamous endurance races as a testing shakedown for its upcoming Golf GTI rival. Yikes. 

Joining the i30 N on a grid also populated by the GT3 versions of the AMG GT S, Audi R8 V10 Plus, Porsche 911 and so on are racing version of Hyundai’s existing performance car offering, the i30 Turbo, and the quirky, sadly missed Veloster Turbo. Maybe there’s safety in numbers. The i30 Turbo actually won its class last year, so Hyundai does have some form around the Nordschleife.

So, this i30 N, then. The new boy. It’s powered not by an uprated version of the i30 Turbo’s 1.6-litre motor, but an all-new 2.0-litre engine delivering at least 260bhp and 227lb ft.

We say ‘at least’ because official figures are yet to be published – this is still work in progress, after all – but Hyundai has released a video of the engine on the test rig, and at 6000rpm, its producing numbers to worry not just the Golf GTI, but Ford’s Focus ST and the Peugeot 308 GTi. Promising stuff.

Hyundai’s been developing its ‘N’ family at the Nürburgring for several years now, having built its own technical centre at the circuit. So, can you guess what the ‘N’ moniker stands for? Nope, you’re wrong: it’s for ‘Namyang’ in South Korea, the home of Hyundai’s main R&D base.

Good luck, little i30, as you take on the big boys. And can be the first to beg, Hyundai, that the road-going version keeps the racecar’s deliciously flared box-arches?

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