30 September 2021 |

Hyundai’s TCR Australia talent remains in global junior program sights

Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative is searching for its next generation of touring car stars, and Australia could provide the answer.

In its third season this year, the Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative saw four drivers accepted into the program representing Europe, America and Asia.

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Previously signed to the program was TCR Australia’s inaugural series champion Will Brown, but the impacts of the worldwide health pandemic in 2020 meant he was unable to be utilised by Hyundai Motorsport.

The program provides support from Hyundai’s Customer Racing engineer, mentorship from its WTCR drivers and media training focused on building a strong profile in international racing.

Brown’s HMO Customer Racing replacement, Josh Buchan is currently placed third in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia standings and is the only Hyundai driver to win in the series this year after taking two victories at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Speaking on the possibility of an Australian representing Hyundai at an international level, Customer Racing Operations Leader Andrew Johns said success leads to the opportunity.

“From here in Alzenau (Hyundai Motorsport headquarters) we’re watching results from all over the globe,” said Johns.

“We’re not pinpointing countries like we must have a driver from there, it’s literally about race wins.

“If a driver from Australia is in a Hyundai doing great things and achieving results combined with being good in front of the media, if they can couple results with their persona outside of the car then we would be very keen to bring them onto a junior driver program.

“Or if a seat opened up in TCR Europe or WTCR, if we saw a talent in Australia then we would consider them.”

Johns also revealed disappointment that circumstances failed to allow Hyundai Customer Racing to fully exploit Brown at an international level.

“There were opportunities that were presented to Will, but unfortunately due to COVID he wasn’t able to take advantage,” said Johns.

“We weren’t able to take advantage of Will’s talent to do what we wanted to do with him in other championships.”