Hyundai is building an electric race car, but where will it compete?

hyundai electric race car 2019 frankfurt motor show logo

Hyundai doesn’t have the motor-sports history of many of its rivals, but the Korean automaker is looking to make up for lost time. At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, Hyundai will unveil its first all-electric race car. Details of the car and where it will race are being kept under wraps for now.

“It promises to be a new chapter for our company, a natural extension to our motorsport activities, one that links closely to the current trends and innovations in the wider automotive industry,” Andrea Adamo, team director of Hyundai Motorsport, said in a statement.

It’s unclear where the Hyundai electric car will race, but there are only a handful of potential venues for it. Formula E is currently the most high-profile electric racing series, although it has locked in a list of manufacturers for the coming season. The recent sale of the Niro team could open up a slot for Hyundai, however. Formula E also plans to launch an off-road race series called Extreme E, and an electric rallycross series called Projekt E is also in the works.

Hyundai may also build its electric race car as a one-off, similar to the Volkswagen I.D. R. That car was built for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, where it broke the overall record in 2018. VW then took the I.D. R to Germany’s famous Nürburgring race track, where the racer set a lap record for electric cars. Hyundai could try to challenge these records, or target a different record.

As with road cars, electrification is becoming more common in racing. In addition to all-electric racing, current Formula One cars use hybrid powertrains, and IndyCar is set to mandate hybrids in 2022. This could help develop technology for use in future road cars, but for now, it serves as a valuable marketing tool for automakers looking to sell more hybrids and electric cars.

Hyundai began racing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 1999, but kept a relatively low profile until the launch of its current motor-sports division in 2012. Hyundai still races in the WRC, but has also added racing versions of the i30 N and Veloster N hot hatchbacks for circuits.

The electric race car will be designed and built in Alzenau, Germany, where Hyundai’s racing division is based. So the car’s September 10 unveiling at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show will be in front of a home crowd, of sorts.

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