Following word from Rhys Millen Racing that its main sponsor, Hyundai, is withdrawing support from its Formula Drift and Global RallyCross Championship campaigns, the Korean automaker has confirmed to Autoblog that it is ceasing all motorsports support programs in North America.

With Hyundai building sales and financial momentum not just in NA but in virtually all markets in which it competes, the timing of the pullout from racing seems curious, but Hyundai reportedly wants to focus on new marketing strategies. Hyundai never really attempted to crack mainline motorsports series here in North America like NASCAR or IndyCar, instead preferring to get a toehold in racing via edgier (and less costly) extreme-sports-style forms of competition like rallycross, hillclimbs and drifting.

Millen's operation says it is looking for new sponsors and partners for next season, but Hyundai's support of the team will evidently remain until the conclusion of its 2012 seasons.

Hyundai will continue motorsports programs elsewhere in the world – indeed, is debuting a new i20 racecar concept at today's Paris Motor Show with which it plans to return to the World Rally Championship, a series it exited back in 2003.


UPDATE: Hyundai spokesperson Jim Trainor has provided us with the following statement:

"Hyundai Motor America has made a decision to step back and re-evaluate its motorsports strategy in order to determine what is best for the brand following the conclusion of the 2012 Global Rallycross and Formula Drift seasons. We are also reconsidering our continued involvement in Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, having achieved the world record in a Hyundai Genesis Coupe this year."



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  • 29 Comments
      AP1_S2K
      • 2 Years Ago
      that really sucks. Toyota is now getting back into sportier cars and more involved in motorsports because thats what creates passion for the cars. So what's Hyundai's strategy which has been really good up to this point.
      Brian Donnellan
      • 2 Years Ago
      AND STAY OUT!
        jonnybimmer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brian Donnellan
        Clearly you're not a fan of motorsports. Less competition in racing means less racing, it doesn't matter where the competition is from.
      Brian Donnellan
      • 2 Years Ago
      If only we can now get toyota out of nascar...
        AP1_S2K
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brian Donnellan
        it's that type of thinking which is why NASCAR viewership will further drop.
      Sean Smith
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is sad news. Why Hyundai is doing this is beyond me.
      ADDvanced
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, so much for interesting cars like the Genesis Coupe R-spec. PS: Honda pulled out of racing and now they produce crap. You await the same fate, Hyundai.
      mzmb4493
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can see a Rhys Millen Redbull Infiniti on the horizon.
      ChrisD
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm the "car guy" in my family and social circles and I tend to recommend brands that are in motorsport (I am a firm believer that racing improves the breed and uncovers the faults [toyoyta F1 for instance]) I will not be recommeding Hyundai anymore. The SCCA pro Rally help Hyundai show the US that they could compete with the best, RMR after leaving Mitsubishi also helped Hyundai show they can compete again and while the veloster has not done a stellar job in Global Rallycross it at least was improving. Hyundai is dead to me now and DONT COME BACK!
        futuramautoblog
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ChrisD
        Chris. You do realize Hyundai still does and will compete in motorsport in other parts of the world. So, if you are really trying to stay true to your statement and support world motorsport with genuine heart, your statement above is a contradiction.
          breakfastburrito
          • 2 Years Ago
          @futuramautoblog
          ChrisD is absolutely correct. All the great GTO cars of the past stood for "Omologato" - homologation. It's an extremely important concept, that is all but lost on today's group of kids. Homologation means that the street cars are raced "to improve the breed" - just as Chris said. Hyundai racing in other parts of the world, still does not change the fact that Pike's Peak WAS a good thing - and their leaving is a bad thing. NightFlight is just doing a very poor job of trolling.
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ChrisD
        @ ChrisD That's literally the dumbest thing I've read on this forum in a while. How do motorsports "improves the breed and uncovers the faults"? Most race prepped vehicles are very far away from showroom stock, so it isn't going to uncover any faults. Are you sure you are a "car guy"?
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          @ ChrisD That's great, Chris. All of your examples are literally from 30 years ago or more. Thanks for proving my point.
          ChrisD
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          One last thing, without racing cars like the subaru WRX and Evo would not have exsisted so there AWD system made lighter and more durable for racing would not have developed into the their lightweight road going systems that are available on all subaru models and some mitsubishi models today. The 911 is another car that would be a pale comparison to the current car without motorsport. The BMW M3, developed for motorsport showed the world and well developed 4 cylinder engine could compete with V8's. Without racing turbo technology would still be like it was in the 60's, instead Porsche delveloped it through the 70's (it need to be more responsive, more reliable and lighter) and now mainstream cars like the Explorer, Focus, sonata use this technology to get more power from smaller displacement more economical engines. That seems like a improvment, doesnt it?
        protovici
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ChrisD
        So I guess your theory implies that manufactors like Lamborghini are not recommended because the lack of presents or no sponsor in the racing world???
          Kevin Gu
          • 2 Years Ago
          @protovici
          If someone requires a recommendation to buy a Lamborghini, then they're an idiot.
          spdracerut
          • 2 Years Ago
          @protovici
          Yup. I'd take a Ferrari or Porsche over a Lamborghini any day of the week.
      MyerShift
      • 2 Years Ago
      So much for any hope of improving, more properly athletic cars from Hyundai (Genesis coupe).
      gray fox
      • 2 Years Ago
      Go Mazda, Rhys! Just like your Pappy!
      prince_david
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is really sad. Hyundai has a long rally history in the US
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      Racing can be hard to justify to the bean counters, especially if the ROI isn't as high as expected. Really think they competed in the wrong series. Hopefully the Kia teams are unaffected.
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      What? The only reason I can see them doing this is to instead concentrate on Kia's motorsport efforts.
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