Callum Devine joins Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver program

Posted: January 28, 2020 2:20 PM - 1536 Hits

Callum Devine joins Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver program

Posted: January 28, 2020 2:20 PM

The successful Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative will expand for the 2020 season, taking in young rally drivers for the first time.

The first class from the discipline will consist of five drivers who will compete in Hyundai Motorsport-built machinery during the 2020 season. Each was selected based on their previous results, as well as their ability to work with, and provide clear feedback to engineers and their professional approach to their rallying.

Pierre-Louis Loubet will return to the wheel of a Hyundai for this season as one of the nominated drivers. Previously the Frenchman, who also enjoys support from the FFSA, rallied an i20 R5 in the WRC 2 category of the World Championship. With the additional support of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing he will aim to continue the excellent form that took him to victory in the 2019 WRC 2 championship.

He will be joined as a Junior Driver by two of those aiming to succeed him as WRC 2 winner. Ole-Christian Veiby and Nikolay Gryazin will both compete in the championship this year under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner, each driving an i20 R5 ’20 as they will aim to prove the performance of the upgraded package in the most high-profile championship for the cars.

The first class of rallying Junior Drivers is completed by Irishman Callum Devine and Luxembourg’s Grégoire Munster.

Devine is a past winner of Motorsport Ireland’s Billy Coleman Award as the best young rallying talent in the country. He further proved his potential last year in his debut outing at the wheel of an i20 R5 when he took an overall podium from Rally Hungary, the final round of the European Rally Championship. The initial group of drivers is rounded out by Munster, who will embark on his first full campaign in an R5, having clinched back-to-back junior titles in the Belgian national championship, driving R2-spec machinery.

All will be able to take advantage of support from Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing engineers, aimed at allowing them to develop their driving throughout the season, and consistently get the best from their car. They will have the mentoring of Hyundai Motorsport’s stable of experienced WRC crews, and the opportunity for extra training to help them further their motorsport careers towards a place at a manufacturer team in the World Rally Championship.

Established last year the Junior Driver program was initially focused on circuit racing and the i30 N TCR. Five drivers competing in different series were included, with the aim to help them build a career in international motorsport and aid them up the ladder of national and regional TCR championships towards a full-time drive on the FIA WTCR grid.

The scheme was immediately successful, with all five taking podium results during the year with the support of the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department. Furthermore, Junior Driver Luca Engstler was able to make his WTCR debut at November’s WTCR Race of Macau, where he scored points in the highly competitive championship.

The latest TCR drivers to be selected as Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Drivers will be confirmed in the coming months.

Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Andrea Adamo said:
“The Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative proved highly successful last year in circuit racing, so it was only natural to expand the program into rallying for 2020. We have five incredibly talented young guys, who have already shown pace in their careers. The group is also a good mix of those who already have experience with R5 cars, and those who are relatively new to the category, so the five drivers we have selected will be able to learn from each other, as much as from our engineers. With the support afforded by the Junior Driver program, and the new performance upgrades included in the i20 R5 ’20, I am sure they will be able to continue their excellent progress towards the pinnacle of the sport in the World Rally Championship.”

Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Drive Mini-Profiles

    Pierre-Louis Loubet
    Age: 22
    Nationality: French
    Career Highlights:
    Winner 2019 WRC 2 Championship

    Ole-Christian Veiby
    Age: 23
    Nationality: Norwegian
    Career Highlights:
    Winner 2019 WRC 2 Rally Sweden
    Winner 2017 Asia Pacific Rally Championship Pacific Cup
    2nd 2017 Asia Pacific Rally Championship
    2nd 2015 Junior World Rally Championship

    Nikolay Gryazin
    Age: 22
    Nationality: Russian
    Career Highlights:
    4th 2019 WRC 2 Championship
    2nd 2018 European Rally Championship

    Callum Devine
    Age: 25
    Nationality: Irish
    Career Highlights:
    3rd overall 2019 Rally Hungary
    Winner 2017 Junior British Rally Championship

    Grégoire Munster
    Age: 21
    Nationality: Luxembourger
    Career Highlights:
    Winner 2019 Junior Belgian Rally Championship
    Winner 2018 Junior Belgian Rally Championship

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy drivers set for breakthrough in 2020 after securing seats in Hyundai i20 R5 cars

Posted: January 9, 2020 10:04 AM

Three young Irish rally drivers are being given the chance to break through into the big time in 2020 after it was announced that they will drive Hyundai i20 R5 cars at domestic and international events.

Motorsport Ireland has announced that for the first time ever three members of the Rally Academy programme will have the opportunity to compete in one of the most hotly-contested rally classes (R5) this season, with all three driving Hyundai i20 R5 rally cars in domestic and international events throughout 2020.

The three drivers – Callum Devine, James Wilson, and Josh McErlean – were unveiled next to a Hyundai i20 R5 today (January 9th) at the Autosport International motorsport show at the NEC in Birmingham.

All three drivers have won the internationally recognised Billy Coleman Award for being named Ireland’s Young Rally Driver of the Year, while Callum is also the current holder of the Manley Trophy for Irish International Driver of the Year.

Callum Devine, from Co Derry, is the current Motorsport Ireland International Driver of the Year and in 2017 won the Billy Coleman Award for being the Young Rally Driver of the Year. He and co-driver Brian Hoy will compete in all rounds of the European Rally Championship, with the first six rounds counting for the ERC Junior U28 title, and the last two rounds for the Overall ERC Title.

Callum Devine said: “I have experienced driving this car in a round of the ERC last year and I have to say that I can’t wait to get behind the wheel again. Having a full campaign in the Hyundai R5 will allow myself and Brian to target the Junior ERC for podium finishes and hopefully even championship honours as well.”

James Wilson, from Co Armagh, the 2018 Billy Coleman Award Winner, and co-driver Arthur Kierans will compete in the National Irish Forestry Championship and selected rounds of the Irish Tarmac Championship, providing him with invaluable experience on mixed surfaces which will be required as he progresses his career onto the international stage.

Josh McErlean, from Kilrea, Co Derry, who last month was named the Billy Coleman Award Winner for 2019, will compete in all rounds of the British Rally Championship which has been the launch pad for so many drivers now competing on the ERC and WRC stage. Josh impressed on his debut R5 drives last year on Wales Rally GB and at the Monza Rally Show and will be aiming to take that form into 2020. He will be supported in his endeavours by co-driver, Keaton Williams.

Josh McErlean said: “I have to thank everyone involved. I never dreamed when I started rallying that I would win the Billy Coleman award let alone be involved in a programme that will enable me to compete for a full campaign in a top spec R5 like the Hyundai. For a young driver like myself this is an opportunity I intend to grasp with both hands and prove to those supporting myself and Keaton that their confidence in us is justified.”

James Wilson said, “I have been very fortunate in that I had the opportunity last year to drive the R5 as part of the extended Billy Coleman Award programme and managed to secure a third place overall at my first loose surface event in the car. I am looking forward to running the car for a full campaign in 2020 and see this as a fantastic opportunity to further my career in Rallying.”

Leo Hassett, CEO Motorsport Ireland, said: “It is a great testament to the work of the academy that we are in a position to announce this today. These young men and their co-drivers have the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the sport both at home and internationally.

“This unique opportunity is only possible because of the incredible support we have received from Sport Ireland, the Team Ireland Foundation, which is generously supported by, amongst others, John Coyne and John Campion. Of course, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and their work with the academy also needs to be acknowledged. As important is the proven ability of the Billy Coleman Award process to identify talent and reward its participants with this type of experience that will be invaluable in their future careers as drivers representing Ireland on the international stage.”

Andrew Johns, Senior Sales Associate Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing , said: “We are excited by the prospect of these talented young drivers showcasing their skills in the Hyundai i20 R5, and delighted that the car can play a role in the development of these drivers’ careers. All three have already showed they are able to compete in the incredibly competitive R5 class, and I have no doubt that with a full season for each of them their skill behind the wheel will see podiums, and maybe even championships won this year.”

Sean McHugh, coordinator of the MI Rally Academy said: “We are delighted to see these three young Irish drivers moving forward in developing their careers. Having the winners of the Billy Coleman Award for each of the last three years progress to top flight cars contesting major championships at home and abroad demonstrates the significant impact of the Rally Academy initiative”.

“The MI Rally Academy, now entering its second year, is designed to develop, support and promote young Irish rally drivers as they climb the ladder to success at the sport’s highest level, representing the best of Irish talent on the world stage.”

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