Finally after many years with the same orange, blue and darker blue liveries on its i20s, the team from South Korea was giving us something new, and something that looked pretty darn good.
Thierry Neuville even took those new colours and won their very first event, claiming only a second victory in Monte Carlo for someone not called Sebastien since Bryan Bouffier in 2011. With Toyota also changing up its colour palette for something a little darker in tone and M-Sport switching to a bright white hue on its Pumas, the WRC looked far more interesting again.
But now, Hyundai has reverted to type. It didn’t take long, and after years of strict corporate schemes across all its motorsport efforts we probably should have seen it coming, but now the Hyundai i20N Rally1 Hybrid will look… pretty much the same as it has for years.
The ‘new’ scheme celebrates the partnership with Hyundai’s sporting ‘N’ division, the bit that builds its extremely fun hot hatches. So there’s now a giant N down the side. But if you can find any differences between this new scheme and the one Hyundai used from 2017-2022, then you’re much better at this than the GRR team.
We’re all for strong corporate identity here in GRR towers, we understand that sometimes a livery is how a car should look. Sometimes that’s a team – Ferraris are red and burn the world down if they change – and sometimes it’s a sponsor – there’s a reason people keep copying the Rothman’s colours even though cigarette sponsorship is very verboten.
But, switching it up every now and then is no bad thing. Standing out for a whole season or at least a few races is great. The new Hyundai looked good and brought attention to a team that, let’s be totally honest here, has flattered to deceive with its results to resources level since it arrived in the WRC. Continuation with the same colours for another year just makes the team a bit more boring in most viewers’ eyes.
If the team had won a championship in the orange, blue and blue then maybe we would feel different. Then the colours would have a significant history, you’d think back to someone standing atop the world in them. But Hyundai has not won a drivers’ championship, it isn’t actually that interesting to general motorsport fans around the world.
For once the team was bold and stood out, it gave people a reason to remember it. Now it’s taken off that cool outfit it wore to the Monte Carlo party, consigned it to the history books and stuck back on the same dull grey office suit it’s worn for decades. People will remember the one cool moment, and forget the rest.