After announcing its return to the top flight rally stage at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH has revised its initial plan and is now all set to take the WRC grid by storm in 2014. An upgraded version of the i20 WRC was also unveiled in Geneva, taken another significant step towards its forthcoming participation in the FIA World Rally Championship.

The new specification i20 WRC incorporates notable upgrades to the exterior bodywork and livery for aerodynamic and aesthetic purposes – signed off by Hyundai/Kia design supremo Peter Schreyer, no less – as well as enhanced suspension kinematics and chassis stiffness to bring it one step closer to competition-ready form.

Development work is handled by Hyundai’s R&D facility in Namyang, Korea and the newly formed Hyundai Motorsport GmbH in Alzenau, Germany. Heading the team is veteran WRC man Michel Nandan, who designed the successful Peugeot 206 and 307 WRCs. A year of private testing and development beckons for the i20 WRC.

Hyundai’s impending return to WRC next year will come exactly 10 years since it withdrew from the sport at the end of the 2003 season after a four-year stint with the Accent WRC. We don’t know if the i20 WRC can match or even beat the VW Polo R, Citroen DS3, (privately entered) Ford Fiesta and MINI Countryman WRCs, but one thing’s for sure, it will look good trying!