A for Effort and 7/10 for Hyundai Motorsport N in FIA ETCR

Hyundai Motorsport PR & Marketing Director Stefan Ph. Henrich gives his take on the Hyundai Motorsport N season in the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup.

Overall, how would you score the team’s season out of ten and why?
Looking back, we have to be happy with what we achieved, but we know there is more room to improve, so I think a 7 out of 10 and an A for Effort. The whole team worked incredibly hard before, then during, the season which helped us to score some excellent results. Still, we cannot be satisfied with the final result until we win the title, and for that reason we need to continue with the same hard work to get ready for 2023.

What went well?
We had the complete package of car, team and driver to fight every single round. We made a big step forward in how competitive we were this season compared to 2021 and were on the pace every race weekend, even though the level of competition was much, much higher this year.

What could be improved?
Through the season we’ve been able to identify several areas where we can still make a step forward. Some we’ve been able to do during the year – and this has helped us to get the results you’ve seen on track. However, some need more work, which we can only do with the time available in the off-season. Like our developments during 2022, it’s not one specific area, but lots of small things to improve the overall performance. Of course, we know our competitors will also be working hard through the winter, so we will only be able to judge our progress when racing starts in 2023.

What do you wish you’d known at the start that you knew by the end of the season?
How important finding the perfect set-up for each driver, each weekend, was going to be. With such limited seat time for each driver this was not always easy, but it was critical to completing a strong weekend. Each driver has to instantly be able to drive the car on the limit, but still avoid any mistakes that could affect not only their weekend, but that of the driver sharing their car.

There are no secrets in FIA ETCR, so no big surprises during the season, and all the cars and drivers are very evenly matched, so you need to be quick from the very start of a weekend.

What was the biggest area of progress for the team?
As a team we made great steps in understanding the tyres, and being able to manage them over a race weekend. FIA ETCR is a complicated series. The cars have incredible torque and power, but it is put through all-weather, treaded, tyres, so it’s a difficult, but very important, balance to find.

Who was the team’s star pupil?
It’s not fair to lift one driver above the others. Obviously, the points will show who has done better, but that is only a small part of the real story. In every way this season has been a team effort and all five of our drivers through the year have put in great performances in an incredibly competitive series. We started with Jean-Karl’s pole position in Pau, but we saw great results with Nicky on his debut, with Mikel in Vallelunga and from Norbert at the final round. There were also many moments where great performances didn’t get the result they deserved, like Nicky in Italy, who was a few corners away from a Super Final victory before he got the flat tyre.

It wouldn’t have been possible without…
The full commitment of the whole team – drivers, mechanics, engineers, everyone – working together to find every improvement we could. In the end you always need some good fortune to take some results, but you need to be in position to take advantage of any opportunity.

What does the off-season hold for the squad?
A lot of hard work to get ready for 2023! We saw this season how close the racing was, and we know that the work we do now will be important from the very first session of next year. If we want to win the title – which of course we do – we need to arrive for Round 1 in the best possible position we can, and that is only possible with hard work developing the car through the winter.