Tag Archives: Performance

More Details Emerge on Hyundai’s N Performance Sub-Brand

Hyundai i30 N prototype

While a specific roadmap for Hyundai’s upcoming high-performance N Division remains a closely guarded secret, especially as it pertains to the U.S. market, our first look at the 2018 Hyundai Kona crossover in South Korea also gave us the opportunity to receive a few more lines of information on the project, and to read between them.

Firstly, the hatchback sold as the i30 in Europe and Korea, which is essentially our 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, will be the first N-branded model when it debuts at the Frankfurt auto show in September. This, we knew before. However, Albert Biermann, N-Division boss and overall head of Hyundai’s vehicle testing and high-performance development, confirmed for us that that car will not see American soil, saying only that the U.S. will get its own model sometime next year, and that it may be an even wilder creation.

Hyundai i30 N prototype

“We promise you will be happy (with it),” he told a gaggle of international journalists.

From that we can only assume he’s referencing the Hyundai Veloster, seeing that the funky three-door hatch is due for a redesign on the i30/Elantra’s front-wheel-drive platform, and we’ve already spied it testing in camouflaged N getup. Although Biermann stonewalled us on any further questions regarding such a vehicle, its similarities with the i30 make it a sensible and tantalizing move.

From what we know about the i30 N, a Volkswagen GTI-hunting Veloster would be propelled by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making about 250 horsepower in base trim and around 280 with an optional performance package. A six-speed manual would be the only transmission choice, although Biermann doesn’t rule out N-tuned dual-clutch automatics down the road. Other key bits would include a track-capable suspension setup, high-performance summer tires, a throaty performance exhaust, body-hugging sport seats, and an optional electronic limited-slip differential. As with the i30 N, this Veloster also would feature upgraded performance brakes, just not fancy Brembo units so as to keep costs reasonable. A competitive bang-for-the-buck with a focus “not on the finish line but how you get there” will be a hallmark of future N cars, Biermann told us.

Hyundai i30 N prototype

That last bit is interesting considering that a pair of pre-production i30 Ns fared impressively well in a 24-hour race at the famed Nürburgring—finishing fourth and ninth out of twelve in their near-production class (and 50th and 95th overall, out of 160)—and that Hyundai will compete in European touring car race series with it next year. Perhaps Honda’s introduction of the 306-hp Civic Type R has produced some trepidation ahead of the N brand’s big debut.

Hyundai had a couple of camo’d prototype i30 Ns on hand for brief test drives around the handling course at its Namyang proving grounds. But the press-handlers declined to let the American journalists in attendance join the throngs of international folks in getting a chance to see firsthand how the car behaves on a race track, so we still haven’t driven one.

  • All-New Hyundai i30: A Euro Hatch Likely to Spawn Next-Gen Elantra GT
  • 2017 Honda Civic Type R: The new Type R only looks like a tragic tuner car
  • Hyundai Elantra Looks Set to Be First Model to Get “N” Performance Treatment

There was little justification for this exclusion; even a brief sampling of the company’s first dedicated performance car would have enlightened us on how far the company as a whole has come in the ride-and-handling department, as well as how excited we should be for a hot-rod Veloster. As it is, we remain cautiously optimistic, and hope we’ll have more to go on once the i30 N hits the road this fall.


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Making The Case For Power To Weight Ratio Over High Bhp

The new rat race in the modern world of automotive engineering is trying to making the most horsepower producing sports cars in the world. From the Mclaren P1 hybrid producing 904 bhp and 723 lb-ft and the LaFerrari it’s the closest rival producing 950bhp and 664 lb-ft, is seems like the top supercar manufacturers right now, want to boast the largest figures. However, despite all that power, both cars still have a curb weight of around 1500kg, about the weight of an average-sized family car. Now that’s still around 600bhp per ton, but with that amount of weight, the handling undoubtedly suffers, the braking distance is longer than it could be and the acceleration also suffers. Generally speaking, lightness is the ethos of sticking a car to the tarmac and carrying great speed through corners, so why how might this be transferred to the road?


Credit – Brian Snelson

Stripping the interior

If you want to make your car lighter, it’s easier than you think. Simply strip out anything you don’t need. Strip out the interior first. Remove the mats, car seats you don’t use, spare wheel and the jack. At this point, on average you’ll save around 20-40kg, resulting in the car becoming more balanced. Replace your passenger and driver’s seat with bucket seats that aren’t adjustable in the tradition sense i.e. rotational tilting and height. If you want to go further, you can set the seat permanently, saving a few kilograms on the rail underneath the seat.

Lower the center of gravity

For performance, you want a total 50-50 weight distribution. But the body roll will commence, albeit, to a lesser extent even if you have taken this measure. You need to hunker down the vehicle so it’s hugging the floor and closer to the wheels and suspension. Talking of suspension, buy a sports suspension that is strong, light and designed to take on lateral G loads as well as the stroke system. Buy a sporting service product from a company like GC Suspension, because for responsive handling, you’ll need a strengthened compression stroke suspension to absorb the bumps in the road.


Image by – Bill Abbott

Applying the doctrine

Having fully committed to the doctrine of speed and performance, you now need to transfer this to the road. You need to look for a tyre which has a low profile, as the less rubber incorporated into the design, the less flex the tyre will give you. A low profile tyre will also help you to minimize skidding upon corner entry. Next, you’ll need to choose a spaced and thick tread. A tyre like the Continental SportContact 6 is great for to channel the car’s chassis and give the driver feedback on what’s going on, in terms of steering angle and grip. But don’t forget, a grasp of the road surface is just as important in wet conditions as it is in the dry. This is where the tread depth and pattern will come into play, as the key goal is to stop your car from aquaplaning. Look for a tyre which will dissipate standing water and make room for the majority of the rubber to hold onto the tarmac.

Performance Balancing Issue Overtakes the Paddock on Eve of 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours


It’s all anyone could really talk about in the paddock at Le Mans. On Friday, as teams were doing last-minute checkouts and tweaking before the Saturday, 3:00 p.m. local time start of the 84th running of the 24-hour classic, competitors in the closely watched and hotly contested GTE class were waiting for a final ruling from the organizers on the all-important BoP calculations, or balance of performance.

Ideally, BoP uses exhaustive performance data from previous races and track sessions to selectively add weight or diminish power from some cars to create closer competition in highly varied classes such as GTE, the fastest of Le Mans’s two production-based groupings where Porsche 911s and Ferrari 488s compete against Corvettes and Ford GTs. In reality, BoP manipulation is a black art practiced by the French (as well as other sports-car sanctioning bodies at different races) to their own peculiar rules.

Last week’s pre-race testing sessions at Le Mans saw the Corvette C7.R dominate the lap times, but a BoP change implemented after that severely handicapped the Corvette and Porsche teams, they say, and produced disastrous qualifying times for them in the final pre-race session on Thursday. The Corvettes were more than 4.6 seconds off the pace, with the 911s far back as well, while both the new Ford GT and the Ferrari 488 got instantly quicker. Insinuations immediately flooded the Le Mans paddock that the French were manipulating the BoP formulas to re-create the classic Ferrari-versus-Ford battle at the expense of Le Mans stalwarts such as Chevrolet and Porsche.


Porsche’s GT racing honcho, Frank-Steffen Walliser, was so upset by the latest BoP change that in an emotional press conference on Friday he choked up when asked about it. “We need BoP, we don’t need this kind of BoP,” he said. “We will fight.” Cornered by reporters, Corvette Racing chief Doug Fehan was said to be fairly apoplectic as well, but both Walliser and Fehan said they would still race no matter what.

For his part, Ford Performance boss Dave Pericak was careful not to gloat, saying of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which runs the 24 Hours of Le Mans, that “they’ve said over and over that they reserve the right to make a change right up to the dropping of the flag.” However, Pericak did say that the Corvette times were “suspicious,” implying that the Chevy team may have sandbagged a little to try to appear more highly wounded than reality and thus curry a more favorable BoP formula from the ACO.

All of the teams were called to a meeting on Friday afternoon, where yet another change to the BoP formula was unveiled. In a move highly unusual for being so close to the start of the race, the ACO slapped the two leading turbo cars, the Ford GT and Ferrari 488, with token weight increases (22 pounds for the Ford and 33 pounds for the Ferrari) but, much more significant, cut the Ford’s power output by 1.3 percent through boost-pressure regulation at certain revs. The Ferrari boost was left untouched, while the leading non-turbo teams—including Aston Martin, Chevrolet, and Porsche—all got breaks through increases in their intake restrictor sizes.

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The problem: Tomorrow’s impending race start means there’s no time to test the changes in further practice or qualifying sessions, so the ACO may have inadvertently lopsided the results yet again, giving one team or another an advantage. The other big problem is that no matter who wins on Sunday, the last-second dickering with the BoP means the taint of hasty and possibly unfair meddling by the organizers could forever hang over the results.

Still, a lot can happen over 24 hours, and with driver mistakes, pit mistakes, and weather being only a few of the uncontrollable variables, the BoP may prove to be no factor at all. We’ll know on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.


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