Nicky Catsburg added the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup to his versatile repertoire when he made his debut part way through the 2022 season with the Hyundai Motorsport N team.
An experienced touring car hand with successful race winning stints to his name at World Championship level, Catsburg’s arrival in the series from Round 3 marked a new phase in a relationship with Hyundai having represented the South Korean firm in WTCR during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Beyond the manufacturer itself, however, Catsburg would quickly find this is where the similarities between his conventional i30 and Elantra N TCR chariots and the sizzling high-performance 500kw (670bhp) Veloster ETCR would end.
While his partial campaign coupled with the broad spread of points available across each stage of the race weekend left its mark on Catsburg’s end-of-season ranking, he made a positive impression in the four rounds he contested.
Opening his campaign with RACE ES in Jarama, Catsburg quickly got to grips with the rigours of the sprint-style races, even enjoying the honour of leading his first-ever race at the Quarter-Final stage.
Going on to collect a top four finish in his DHL Super Final pool, Catsburg kicked off his campaign with a creditable eighth overall in the King of the Weekend classification.
Going one better next time out at his de facto ‘home’ event in neighbouring Belgium at Zolder, the Dutchman landed his first race win at the Semi-Final stage, but had to make do with a fourth in the DHL Super Final, placing him seventh in the overall classification.
It was the penultimate RACE IT round at Vallelunga that would prove both a zenith and a disappointment for Catsburg. Indeed, despite scoring a season’s best King of the Weekend result of sixth overall, he was otherwise left to rue a DHL Super Final victory slipping from his grasp courtesy of a rear tyre delamination while leading.
Rounding out his season with a tenth place finish at the Sachsenring, Catsburg was won over by the huge potential of the ETCR series and his Veloster package.
“I’ve been impressed with the speed and overall package of the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR, and I felt completely ready to hit the ground running in Jarama,” he said.
“For me Zolder – though still early days in my ETCR season – was a highlight. As a team I think we did a good job. We kept improving and laid the foundation for the future events and the strong results that were to come.
“I have always wanted to be a part of ETCR, a relatively new racing series with great future possibilities.”
It was a sentiment shared by Series Director Xavier Gavory, who praised Catsburg’s quick adaptation to the new formula.
“A highlight was seeing how Nicky Catsburg jumped in mid-season and adapted so well – it was a tough ask, yet you could see how well he was adapting to the challenge and learning something in every session.”
Hyundai Motorsport N
Hyundai Veloster ETCR
11th – 188 points