It'll still be several months yet before we get behind the wheel of the all-new 2012 Hyundai Veloster, but that hasn't stopped Hyundai from working yet again with with all-around racing ace Rhys Millen on a 500-horsepower monster of a Veloster that's making its debut at the 2011 Chicago auto show.
Millen has had great success tuning up the Genesis Coupe, and the newest Hyundai compact provides another avenue to display his driving prowess. In stock trim, the Veloster appears to be a promising prospect for the first- or second-time new-car buyer. With 500 horsepower? It's a whole different car altogether.
To start, Millen and his family firm Rhys Millen Racing took a Veloster and stripped it down to the bare chassis. It was then sent to sit in an alkali bath for five days, similar to the process endured by classic cars undergoing a full restoration. Completely nude, the chassis was stitch welded to improve rigidity.
A familiar sight resides in the engine bay, with Hyundai’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four setting up shop. A new turbo sourced from HKS captures the heated exhaust gases to offer 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. All the power will be managed by Millen’s right foot and the Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission, while the Xtrac all-wheel drive system will be supported by Proflex long-travel suspension capable of surviving high jumps and very sudden and rapid changes in elevation.
Eventually, the body panels had to go back on but RMR came prepared. Losing weight is critical to a rally car’s performance, so the doors, quarter panels, vented hood, and front and rear fascias are now molded from a carbon-fiber/Kevlar composite and painted blue, orange, and white. As has become customary with Rhys Millen efforts, the Red Bull livery is applied to full effect. The change in build materials nets a 75-percent reduction in weight over the stock pieces, and Hyundai lists this Veloster’s curb weight at 2656 pounds.
In motion, a specially designed, carbon-fiber rear wing that’d look at home on a Porsche 911 boosts aerodynamic grip. Six-piston Alcon front brake calipers have been tasked with clamping down on 14-inch Alcon rotors. Just as impressively, the Alcon rear calipers house another six pistons each and push brake pads against 12-inch rear rotors. Protecting said brake components are special 18-inch HRE wheels wrapped in 245/40R18 Hankook Racing tires. And of course, the necessary safety appointments include an eight-point rollcage and a Sparco seat with restraining harnesses.
Millen will be behind the wheel of his personal creation, and a second Veloster will also be built for this year’s Summer X Games. Millen will take part in the 2011 U.S. Rallycross Championship.
Five-time British National Rally champion Marcus Dodd (who works magic with the Hyundai Accent WRC racecar) and Australian motocross freestyler/daredevil Robbie Maddison (who once jumped his motorcycle 322 feet and 7.5 inches to break a world record) will team up at the X Games.
A third Veloster will enter the racing scene too, though it’ll keep the front-wheel drive setup to stay eligible for a limited number of races in the U.S. Rallycross Championship’s 2WD class. Celebrity drivers will be determined at a later time.