Hyundai introduces Rhys Millen Red Bull RallyCross Team, starring Veloster

12 February 2011

With the next generation of Hyundai buyers eagerly awaiting the upcoming launch of the 2012 Veloster, Hyundai fuels the excitement by teaming with Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) and Red Bull to campaign the car in the high-energy sport of rallycross.

At the Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai Motor America adds the Veloster coupe to its motorsports program with the help of champion race car driver Rhys Millen, who fabricated and will race the first 500-horsepower AWD Veloster rally car in the 2011 U.S. Rallycross Championship. RMR and Hyundai are constructing a second Veloster rally car that will be a shared ride between rally champion Marcus Dodd and world record freestyle motorbike rider Robbie Maddison. Millen and Maddison will drive the Veloster rally cars at Summer X Games. A third Veloster rally car will be constructed to compete in the 2WD class in limited number of U.S. Rallycross Championship events and will be piloted by to-be-announced celebrity drivers.

2011 U.S. RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (schedule is subject to change)

• Rd. 1 March 26-27 Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif.
• Rd. 2 April 16-17 TBA, West Coast Venue
• Rd. 3 June 18-19 Pikes Peak International Raceway, Pueblo, Colo.
• X Games 17 July 26-31 Los Angeles, Calif.
• Rd. 4 Oct. TBD Road Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga.
• Rd. 5 Oct. 29-30 N.J. Motorsport Park, Millville, N.J.

“We feel the Veloster is a perfect fit for X Games and the U.S. Rallycross Championship series as we expand our motorsports efforts,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, Product and Corporate Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “The all-new 2012 Veloster is a playful, fun to drive car and thanks to Rhys and his team we’re excited to introduce it to racing fans ahead of its launch this summer. I teamed up with Rhys’ father, Rod, nearly twenty years ago for Hyundai’s original Pikes Peak rally program, so it is great to be back in the sport again with his son inspiring a new generation.”

“The Veloster Concept inspired me to expand Hyundai’s motorsports program back into their routes of rally,” said Millen, professional race driver and founder of RMR. “We’ve transformed the Veloster’s lightweight, rigid architecture into a rally car with an engine producing 500-horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque. We hope some of the performance learning’s from the Veloster rallycross program have a role in the development of future Veloster models.”

THE CHASSIS BUILD

Twelve RMR employees applied everything they know about fabricating racecars into the Veloster rally Car. The production Veloster was stripped to bare metal and the chassis spent five days in an Alkali bath removing all rubber and adhesives. The chassis was also stitch welded for added structural rigidity.

CARBON/KEVLAR BODY PANELS

Millen quickly decided to take the already light weight Veloster and make it even lighter. His crew took molds of the Veloster body panels to replicate them out of carbon/Kevlar. The hood, doors, quarter panels, front fascia and rear fascia are all built out of carbon/Kevlar. The carbon/Kevlar panels are 75 percent lighter than the sheet metal they replaced. This weight-saving approach is carried throughout the car without compromising its powerful curves and surface detail or hidden third door.

Downforce has been further increased by a custom RMR rear wing. The hood is vented to dissipate heat. The curb weight for the car is 2,656 pounds.

INTERIOR

The interior of the RMR Red Bull Hyundai Veloster rally car is unrecognizable from its origins as a well-appointed sporty coupe designed with everyday driving in mind. All comfort and convenience features are removed to make way for a custom-fabricated eight-point safety cage and firewall which reinforce the Veloster’s already stiff chassis. Braces on the A and B pillars also tie into the strength of the body. The safety cage is required for rallying and a Sparco racing seat further protects the driver in the overhauled cockpit.

SUSPENSION

The RMR Red Bull Hyundai Veloster rally car utilizes a custom suspension with a lot of travel for the jumps rallycross cars have to make.

WHEELS, TIRES AND BRAKES

To ensure that the enhanced power plant translates all the way to track performance, RMR added custom built 18-inch HRE wheels and 245/40-18 Hankook Racing tires. Stopping power comes from 14-inch Alcon brake rotors and six piston Alcon calipers. The entire carbon/Kevlar body is wrapped in a paint scheme combination of blue, white and orange.

RALLYCROSS

A race consists of five rally-style cars jumping and sliding on a road course made of pavement and gravel. Five drivers line up to start at once, piloting 500+ horsepower four wheel drive compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns, dirt and pavement. Each car must also take a “Joker” lap at some point during their heat. A Joker lap is a small detour – normally over a jump – that adds a level of unpredictability to the heat’s outcome, by changing a driver’s strategy in an instant.

Claudia Tallone