Rhys Millen was part of the original crew that brought rally cars to the X-Games six years ago. "I'm excited to be stepping back into the world of rally," said Millen "... with rallycross here in the U.S., what better way to prove the performance and power of the Hyundai brand."
Hyundai's goal is to run the 2010 events to gain insight for next year when they'll run a full series with an all-new car. The car is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a six-speed sequential gearbox. Xtrac four-wheel drive, large Brembo brakes and a Proflex jumbo coilover suspension setup help keep the 2,805 pound car pointed where Rhys tells it to go.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., 09/21/2010
Hyundai and Rhys Millen Racing will enter rounds two and three of the U.S. Rallycross Championship at the New Jersey Motorsports Park on Oct. 2-3 and Nov. 6-7. Millen will be piloting a Hyundai Rally car specifically developed for the World Rally Championship.
"We've really benefited from our Genesis Coupe Formula Drift partnership with Rhys, and so we've decided to expand on that with this move into Rallycross," said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "Our participation this year is all about learning the ropes of this new series. Next year, we'll campaign with an all-new car that's also going to be an exciting entry to Hyundai's U.S. production lineup."
"I'm excited to be stepping back into the world of rally," said Rhys Millen, professional race driver and founder of Rhys Millen Racing. "It has been six years since I was involved with the inaugural X Games rally event and now with rallycross here in the U.S., what better way to prove the performance and power of the Hyundai brand."
A race consists of five rally-style cars jumping and sliding on a road course made of pavement and gravel. Five drivers line up to start at once, piloting 500+ horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns and hills. Each car must also take a "Joker" lap at some point during their heat. A Joker Lap is a small detour – normally over a jump – that adds a level of unpredictability to the heat's outcome, by changing a driver's strategy in an instant.
RHYS VERSUS HIS RIVALS
Rhys "Mad Skills" Millen will be taking on Travis Pastrana and Dave Mirra in their Subaru WRX STIs, Ken Block in his Ford Fiesta and Antoine L'Estage in his Mitsubishi EVO X.
With more than 17 years of racing experience, Rhys Millen has established himself as one of the premier rally/drifting drivers in North America. Born in New Zealand in 1972, Rhys is the son of famed rally and off-road racer Rod Millen. Rhys joined Rod in the U.S. as a teenager and soon afterwards established himself as a racer, by taking first place at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the Open Division and winning Rookie of the Year. He won the Formula Drift championship in 2005 and the Red Bull Drifting World Championship in 2008.
Millen and his team are an ideal match to help launch Hyundai's motorsports effort with the Genesis Coupe. Millen's driving credentials include movie stunts, multiple drifting championships, a Pikes Peak world record and his 2008 New Year's Eve Las Vegas truck flip. Behind Millen's success in the driver's seat is a full team of engineers and fabricators that know how to maximize the potential of a race car.
In 2009 at the PPIHC, Millen won the Time Attack 2WD class in his carbon-bodied Hyundai Genesis Coupe. His time of 12:09.397 crushed the class record, but his run was not without drama. Millen started on wet pavement thanks to an afternoon shower, and then up toward the top he lost fifth gear and shredded a left rear tire, the tread delaminating with a bang just as he crossed the finish line.
HYUNDAI RALLY CAR
Curb weight: 2,805 pounds
Engine: Hyundai 500-horspower four-cylinder turbocharged
Transmission: Xtrac 6-speed sequential
Transfer case: Xtrac 4wd
Front and rear differentials: Xtrac
Suspension: Proflex jumbo coil over
Brakes: 13.5-inch Brembo
Wheels: 18 x 8-inch Enkei
Seats and harnesses: Sparco