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2012 Hyundai Veloster and Rallycross Version - Chicago Auto Show

February 2011 author photo


February 10, 2011

Hyundai’s execs, including President and CEO John Krafcik, assure us that fun cars can still be had and can be obtained inexpensively. The most recent proof is the introduction of its 2012 Veloster, Hyundai’s 3-door FWD coupe targeted at both one-time Tiburon owners and those still looking at Honda’s CR-Z with a nostalgic nod. Due in showrooms this summer, and reportedly priced between $17K and $24K, the Veloster slips in under Hyundai’s RWD Genesis coupe – starting in the low-$20s – and will be easier to assimilate for those not knowing what ‘rear-wheel drive’ means.

Of course, if you’re selling fun, racing is a viable way of upping the ante. And nothing quite ups that ante than a rallycross-specific Veloster, built by world champion Rhys Millen. Millen’s driving credits include movie stunts, multiple drifting championships, a Pikes Peak world record (Rhys’ father Rod was at Pikes Peak for Hyundai some twenty years ago) and a truck flip on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. And in Rhys’ example, what happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas; the video narrative of that back flip has been seen by zillions.

While closer to its production roots than a Nascar ‘stocker,’ there’s little remaining from a production Veloster beyond its unit body. A team of twelve Millen employees stripped the chassis to bare metal. Molds were taken of the body panels, replicating same in lightweight carbon/Kevlar, some 75% lighter than the sheetmetal these panels replace. And with a rear-mounted radiator (better to protect it from mud thrown by the competition – such as it is) a bevy of scoops co-opt the Veloster’s third, passenger-side door.

Under the bulging – albeit lightweight – hood sits a turbocharged four producing 500 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. That power is transmitted via a six-speed sequential transmission and all-wheel drive. Tires are supplied by Hankook, and Mr. Millen’s backside is supported by Sparco. A tour of the instrument panel – conducted by Rhys – suggested something more akin to NASA than Nascar. Diagnostics allow the crew to determine – via a digital display – everything but Mr. Millen’s blood pressure, and there’s probably an ‘app for that.’

The Rallycross Championship schedule begins in Irwindale, California on March 26th, and concludes in Millville, New Jersey October 29th and 30th.

DAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Hyundai Veloster and Rallycross Version - Chicago Auto Show - Autotrader