July 28th, 2019
24hrs of Hyundai N Experience
Believe it or not but the story of how I ended up with a trip to the Nurburgring on Hyundai USA’s dollar starts with two broken Fords…
With my SVT Focus throwing a spark plug out the head at the start of February I had to start using what was meant to be my daily (another mk1 Focus that has a Powerworks Supercharger - CARB legal boost FTW! Also for sale in case anyone is interested), however after only two weeks of driving the now fully christened daily it throws off the accessory belt while driving to a San Jose Barracuda game (my fault, heard the whining, had partially figured out what I needed to replace but hadnt found the time to do it yet). What actually happened was the bolts on the water pump pulley backed out and the belt got shredded. So I needed a new water pump pulley and some bolts, call around parts stores and Ford dealers, fastest I could get was the Monday, cool no prob, got the day off work. Will fix it then and be fine. No missed work days, perfect.
However Monday rolls around and parts never show up, thanks parts store! So now I don’t have a functioning car so I make the decision that its time to get myself something new, with a warranty. I had known about the Hyundai Veloster N for a while but they had barely started hitting dealers at this point (early February). But luckily I was able to find one in my desired specs (White or Blue with Performance Pack) in Folsom Lake (Sacramento). Called my boss and told him I wouldn’t be in on the Tuesday as I was gonna go buy a brand new car….
So… Now I have a new car and what does a car guy do when they get a new car? You got it, post it on their instagram! I posted a couple others over the next month or so as well. Fast forward to April 30th, Im at work just going about my day when I get a DM on instagram from Hyundai USA mentioning that they have an event coming up June 20th to 23rd and if I was interested to reach out and gave me the email address to their Social Media Manager.
Obviously I sent an email with the quickness, events are always fun no matter what. I had also heard grumblings in some KDM Owners groups that their was a Nurburgring trip for Veloster N owners but didn’t know any of the details. When I got a reply to my email I was pretty shocked, yup its a ‘Ring trip! AAAAAAAAND it was all paid for by Hyundai. Flights. Hotel. Meals. The works!
Now lets get to the fun stuff, June rolls around and off I go to San Francisco International Airport still not quite believing how I got so lucky to get a free trip to Germany. We fly into Frankfurt and are greeted by Hyundai staff and shuttled off to a nearby hotel where we are given meal vouchers and all our required passes & wristbands for the rest of the weekend.
After a long first night in Frankfurt with far too much alcohol - thanks for paying for that Hyundai! - there was a LOOOOONG bus journey out to Mendig. Now whats in Mendig you ask? Well we got to some driving of the Hyundai i30 N on an airstrip with slalom, auto-x and a fast corner with collision avoidance training. Now sadly I never got any photos at this part of the trip as my camera was still packed away in my suitcase. Rookie mistake Gordon. But it was a whole lot of fun, I got to drive a i30 N Fastback.
From Mendig, we were then transferred over to the ultimate car guy destination. The Nurburgring. Our accommodations at the Ring were simplistic, but comfortable. Air mattress, sleeping bag, blindfold, earplugs. Our temporary hotel has been built about 100 yards from a hairpin!
First night at the Ring there was some track action to take in, open practice for the 24hr cars, a WTCR race and a drift display by Team Falken Tyres. I decided to get myself an early night and hit the hay around 930pm after my hangover kicked my arse the whole day.
Saturday morning, if you weren’t up and at em early, you were awoken by the sound of V10’s! 835am a Audi R8 LMS Cup race started…
After the R8 Cup race finished we had something super special as part of our trip thanks to Hyundai, out of the 300 or so people invited to the event, 200 of us got to experience a lap of the ‘Ring in the same cars we had driven in Mendig! Sadly I didnt get one of the 50 drivers slots for this experience but riding shotgun around the ‘Ring did allow me to capture what you see below. Not enough can be said about how amazing this track is to go around, add in all the spectators (were told approx 200k people attend) that are there for the 24hr race and its just insane!
The 24hr race started at 330pm on the Saturday, but this part is where I get to show you something a little behind the scene from Sunday around 1230pm. Another perk of the trip by Hyundai was Pit Box tours of Live pits during the race. Standing in the pits for all 3 Hyundai’s that were running the 24hr race I got to see a pit stop for the i30 N Fastback, a couple driver changes on Aston Martin’s in the Box next to us and see a whole heap of cars go through the pits in my 30min allotted time in the Pit Box. Very thankful to Hyundai for the chance to experience a live pits.
Even though it was a 24hr race I feel like it over almost as quickly as it began and only slept for about 3hrs while the race was running! In the middle of the night I took a hike with a group of guys out to Karussel Corner. This was an hour long hike each way in pitch black darkness. Great idea? I think not, but boy was it worth it! We walked through where a whole heap of people had set up camp for the weekend and had partied themselves out by the time we rolled through around 1am.
All said and done, this was an absolutely amazing trip and I can only thank Hyundai USA for the opportunity to experience it. Same time next year?
Words: Gordon Lister
Photos: Gordon Lister
Location: Nurburgring, Germany