Hyundai’s three-car team for Nürburgring 24h TCR class | Hyundai N

Hyundai’s three-car team for Nürburgring 24h TCR class | Hyundai N

Hyundai will bring its largest team yet to the Nürburgring Nordschleife to contest this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours (May 30-June 2). Three Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars stand ready to chase a fourth consecutive class win for the team.

The crews for the cars hail from three different continents and include the defending class winners, as well as champion Hyundai Motorsport customer drivers from some of the most competitive TCR series.

The three cars – set to carry the #830, #831 and #832 during the endurance racing weekend – will be led by Mikel Azcona, Marc Basseng and Manuel Lauck aboard the #830 car. These three drivers combined to win the TCR class in 2022 and 2023, while Basseng and Lauck also achieved victory at the 2021 Nürburgring 24 Hours in the Elantra N TCR’s debut at the legendary endurance race.

The Hyundai-Motor-America-supported Bryan Herta Autosport team enjoyed a superb Nürburgring 24 Hours debut performance in 2023, completing the third-consecutive Hyundai Motorsport Class 1-2 finish. The BHA team returns to the Nordschleife in 2024 with a different driver lineup: Mason Filippi and his team-mate, 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series champion, Harry Gottsacker, will make their second starts in the TCR class. They will be joined by Canadian Mark Wilkins making his 24 Hours debut. 19-year-old Bryson Morris completed the team for the Qualifiers weekend in his first Nordschleife start with a TCR car, although the final driver for the 24 Hours weekend is yet to be confirmed.

All new for 2024 is the #832 entry, set to be driven by four stars of the TCR China series: Hongwei Cao, Rainey He, Andy Yan and Zhang Zhen Dong. Cao emerged with the 2023 national series title in his first year driving the Elantra N TCR after a tense season finale on the streets of Macau in November. Cao will share the car for the Nürburgring 24 Hours with his 2023 Hyundai N squad team-mates, He and Yan. The team will be completed by Dong, who competed in TCR China last year with the Z Speed team, finishing eighth in the highly competitive series with a pair of podium appearances. His efforts helped the Elantra N TCR clinch the Car TCR Model of the Year honours in the national series.

The team and drivers all competed last weekend at the N24 Qualifiers. They finished the weekend with a perfect 1-2-3 in class in Sunday’s four-hour race of the weekend as Azcona, Basseng and Lauck took victory infront of the North American and Chinese teams. On Saturday the #830 team recovered from a puncture to win the class. Similarly, Filippi suffered a puncture early in the race aboard #831 but brought the car back to the pits with no further damage. The car would complete the podium ahead of the Chinese-crewed car in fourth.

The three-car TCR team for the Nürburgring 24 Hours further advances the close connection between Hyundai N, the Nürburgring and the race. Fittingly, Hyundai’s N performance division name itself is derived from the legendary German circuit, as well as Namyang, South Korea – home of Hyundai’s global R&D centre. Hyundai maintains a technical centre within sight of the circuit, which it uses to conduct extensive testing of every new road car model as part of their on-going development.

Hyundai Motorsport has developed an equally strong and successful link with the Nürburgring 24 Hours. All three TCR designs built by the Customer Racing department have scored class podiums in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, with Elantra N TCR race cars emerging victorious the last three years.

The trio of Elantra N TCR teams for the 2024 race aims to add to this incredible record. However, the Nürburgring 24 Hours is widely recognised as one of the most extreme challenges in motorsport. A combination of the unforgiving 25km circuit, famously varying weather conditions, a huge range of performance within the 140+ cars on track, and the difficulty of driving through the night remains unparalleled in modern racing.

The official line-up of teams for the race will be completed by the Hyundai Driving Experience i30 Fastback N in the VT2 Front-Wheel-Drive class. In 2023, the team dominated the class, winning by an impressive nine laps, though their advantage was as much as double that margin before a late technical problem. The team for 2024 will include two of the winners from last year in experienced drivers Marcus Willhardt and Michael Bohrer. They will be joined by journalist-racer Jens Dralle who returns for a second year with the team at the Nürburgring 24 Hours after driving a second car in 2023. The team will be completed by Korean Junior driver Gyumin Kim, who has already proven his talent as the Hyundai N Festival winner in his home country last year before helping the team to class podium finishes in the first two NLS races of the season earlier in April.

Hyundai Motor Company Vice President and Head of Hyundai N Brand & Motorsport Sub-division Till Wartenberg said: “Our participation in the Nürburgring 24 Hours has always been a key date in our year. Since the beginning of Hyundai N our high-performance road cars have had a close connection with the Nürburgring, through our technical centre and Hyundai N itself. The success we have enjoyed in the TCR class at the race has only made the event more important as, with Hyundai Motorsport, we have expanded our involvement in the race to three cars, representing some of the most important markets for Hyundai Motor Company and some of the most successful race teams with the Elantra N TCR. We know that all three teams have the ability to achieve a great result, but the Nürburgring 24 Hours remains a great challenge.”

Hyundai Motorsport President & Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “Hyundai Motorsport is proud to be part of the long-running close connection between Hyundai N and the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Since the beginning of our TCR project, the annual trip to the Nürburgring 24 Hours has been one of the most important dates on our racing calendar – and one of the most successful. Three successive class wins in the TCR class have clearly demonstrated the performance and reliability of the Elantra N TCR in one of the most challenging races in modern motorsport. Being the defending class winners brings with it extra pressure, but I am sure with our three TCR crews we will again be the team to beat on track.”

Hyundai Motorsport Circuit Racing Project Manager Julien Moncet said: “The Hyundai Elantra N TCR and our customer teams and drivers have a superb record in both TCR sprint racing series and at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. This year’s driver line-up for the three Elantra N TCR cars brings this together. Mikel Azcona, Marc Basseng and Manuel Lauck have won the TCR class for the last two years, so they have a clear pedigree in endurance racing. They will be joined by drivers from our leading customer teams in North America and in China, where they have already enjoyed great success. Last year, the four Bryan Herta Autosport drivers put in a great performance to finish second in class in their debut at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. I am confident both the North American team and the TCR China drivers can achieve another strong result this year.”