Hyundai team: ‘No point coming back’ to Bathurst without BoP change

Nathan Morcom

HMO Customer Racing has declared there “no point in us coming back for the Bathurst International” without balance of performance changes after an uncompetitive start to the 6 Hour event.

No Hyundai finished higher than seventh in either of the first two races of Round 3 of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series at Mount Panorama, where Tilton Racing’s Brad Shiels led the way for the Korean marque.

The HMO entries themselves did no better than 11th, thanks to Josh Buchan in Race 2, after qualifying 15th, 17th, and 18th in a shortened session, while Shiels managed to grab fifth on the grid for the opening 10-lapper.

According to team manager Scott Fulcher, their i30 N cars are not competitive enough in a straight line due to the category’s parity measures, and would struggle again when TCR returns for the Bathurst International in November.

“We knew that Bathurst wasn’t going to be the ideal circuit for our Hyundai i30 N TCR cars, but to be a second slower in Sectors 1 and 3 due to a distinct lack of straight-line speed is disheartening,” said Fulcher.

“The Hyundai itself is not the problem, the i30 N TCR is a brilliant piece of machinery and the heaviest car in the field without BoP or success ballast.

“The fact is the engine is restricted to 97 percent while other cars in the field are allowed to run at 102 percent.

“Both Nathan [Morcom] and Josh [Buchan] received 40kg and 20kg of weight respectively for Bathurst which has made things basically impossible.

“We need a parity adjustment. To be quite frank, there really is no point in us coming back for the Bathurst International in November unless something is done.”

The 40kg and 20kg referred to are the compensation weights for performances in recent rounds, while the other parity measures are applied from the worldwide TCR regulations.

It was just last year that Hyundai Motorsport’s global boss, Andrea Adamo, hit out at such measures when he hinted at one stage at the possibility of pulling out of WTCR over what he deemed to be onerous BoP measures.

Hyundai was later given some concessions ahead of Round 2 of the 2020 WTCR season, namely a higher power level.

Josh Buchan

At Bathurst this weekend, a red flag which saw the final 10 minutes of qualifying rubbed out was also costly for HMO.

“There are days when things just don’t go your way and you just have to make the best of what you’ve been given and [Saturday] has been one of those days,” remarked Fulcher.

“Our qualifying strategy was running to plan then Jordan Cox bunkered himself at the Chase and the session was over with our three cars on new tyres and ready to leave pit exit.

“Duvashen [Padayachee] stalled at the start of the opening race and Nathan [Morcom] was left stranded behind.

“From that point Josh [Buchan], Nathan and Duvashen were on a recovery mission throughout the day as they fought to move towards the top 10.

“Josh climbed to ninth in Race 2 only to find himself swamped on the straights by the faster cars.

“Our three drivers have done a stellar job in view of the circumstances.”

Morcom, one of nine race winners in the inaugural season of TCR Australia in 2019, backed up those frustrations.

“Starting up the back never really helps and then I had to miss Duvashen at the start which left us both at the back of the field,” he recounted.

“We managed to claw back some ground but our biggest issue is that we don’t have the straight-line speed. We are easily losing over a second in the first and last sectors of the lap.

“It’s definitely killing us and all we can do for [Race 3] is to stay clean and try to make up some more ground.”

Race 3 of Round 3 of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia starts at 10:12 local time/AEST.

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