By: Dave Abrahams
Paris Motor Show - The Hyundai RN30 race-car concept, revealed here today, is the latest in a series of high-performance sports concepts that point towards the future of N production models. It's based on the new-generation i30 and, according to high performance development and vehicle test head Albert Biermann, provides a strong indication of what we can expect to see when the first N production model, the i30N, is released in 2017.
The RN30 concept is 30mm wider than the production i30 at 1950mm, and a radical 84mm lower at 1355mm, with a 'floating' fender over each wheel that's designed o channel air over the side splitters and to increase down-force.
The front end is built around Hyundai's new signature 'cascading' grille, channelling cooling air through the engine compartment and out through a big racing-style outlet on the top of the bonnet. The rear spoiler is supported by a distinctive central fin on the roof of the car, over a big diffuser and dual, central tailpipes finished in white ceramic coating.
The RN30's designers collaborated with racing engineering from Hyundai Motorsport on the interior layout to focus the driver's attention on the car and the road, without distractions; they also provided a racing bucket seated and an integrated roll-cage, which stiffens the body, especially the upper shock mounts, as much as it protects the driver.
The selfie generation is catered for with an image-stabilising gimbal cameras inside each A pillar and an outside camera on the roof's centre fin, to capture the driver's track-day reactions and generate professional-looking racing footage or present his experiences as if on television.
The go to match the show
The RN30 is powered by a two-litre turbo-petrol four that's being developed for future N models, upgraded with a bigger turbo to increase top end power at the expense of bottom-end torque.
Its major components, including the block, are machined from aluminium forgings rather than the usual castings for greater strength and durability, so the that the race engineers can squeeze serious performance out of it without sacrificing reliability.
By 'serious' they mean 279.5kW and 451Nm, although they don't say how hard they have to rev it to get those impressive numbers, which are applied to tarmac via a wet-type dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive.
An electronic limit-slip differential makes sure it all gets there and vectors power to individual wheels as needed to ensure accurate steering and optimum traction in corners. Drive-by-wire ECU mapping matches the revs to the engine speed on downshifts, and an electronically variable exhaust system (Hyundaispeak for an autonomous bypass valve) provides an authoritative soundtrack.
Rather than using popular but expensive carbon fibre components Hyundai's development team collaborated with German chemical giant BASF to produce new high-performance plastic materials - light, durable and environmentally friendly - which are used wherever possible to reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity for improved handling.
Look to see some of these materials in the production i30N when it comes out next year.