WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD | IMAGES BY HYUNDAI
Thierry Neuville will swap machinery with Hyundai ETCR driver Norbert Michelisz at Circuit Zolder in July.
The two drivers will take part in a demonstration at the eTouring Car World Cup round next month, with Neuville driving Hyundai’s first fully-electric race car, the Veloster N ETCR for a number of laps around the 2.49 mile track, before Michelisz gets his hands on the Rally1 machine that is competing in the World Rally Championship.
“The car swap in Zolder should be a lot of fun for me and Norbi as drivers – but also for the spectators at the FIA ETCR weekend” Neuville said.
“Driving cars from other series and disciplines in racing is always interesting, and you can always learn a lot from the drivers.
“The Hyundai Veloster N ETCR should be very interesting. With 500kw – five times more than the hybrid in my Rally1 car – it’s very powerful, but it’s also much heavier, so I can’t wait to find out how it accelerates and handles around the circuit.
“Of course it will also be fun to get Norbi into the Rally1 car – just like for me, for him it’s going to jumping into something completely different.
“It will nice to bring somebody new into ‘my office’ and see his reaction to the latest breed of WRC cars while we put on a show for the Belgian fans.”
This year is Michelisz’s first time racing electric machinery, and it will also be the first time he drives a hybrid racing car when he gets behind the wheel of the i20 N Rally1.
“It’s going to be a very interesting experience to drive the Hyundai i20 N Rally1,” said Michelisz.
“The WRC cars always look spectacular, and the new cars for 2022 are no exception.
“Hopefully, Thierry can give me some tips to get the best from the car and we can both have some fun and put on a show for everyone.
“Driving in FIA ETCR this year is my first season racing with electric power, so the car swap will be my first time with a hybrid motorsport car.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see how it feels with the extra boost – especially with a hybrid system on the horizon for TCR cars in the near future.
“Maybe I sneak some extra testing in, to get a head start! Thierry is a great driver – he’s a star in WRC, but he’s also won in TCR before so I’m sure he’ll feel at home in the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR straight away. I can’t wait to see what he thinks of the car.”