“There’s sporting heart behind this – I want cars to be loud and spectacular.” That’s what WRC driver Hayden Paddon told Top Gear when we asked about what we can expect from the dramatic-looking Hyundai Kona rally car his team’s working on.
Rally cars often sound good, of course, all pops, crackles and anti-lag. This one will be entirely electric powered, but Paddon promises it’ll still make a noise worth listening to. We ask what kind of noise. “You’ll find out next year! It’s something we’re currently working on.”
The Kona – just a model in these pictures – is being developed alongside Hyundai New Zealand in Paddon’s homeland, with the assistance of the University of Canterbury, Yes Power and Stard, an Austrian racing team that’s been working on electric rallycross cars.
This will compete in rallying proper, though, with a small but dedicated team putting the car together ahead of its debut in selected rounds of the New Zealand Rally Championship in 2020.
“We don’t want an electric car for an electric championship,” Paddon tells us. “We want to showcase this against current cars, to show electric can be fast, cool and hold its own. Motorsport should be any car against any car. We want to help change people’s perception. For that you need their attention, and for that you need to take it where people are already watching.
“The automotive mindset has already changed a lot, a car like this seems a lot more feasible now. We have to do it now or motorsport will get left behind.”