Tar­quini on the i30N

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Gabriele Tar­quini is the vet­eran Ital­ian race driver lead­ing Hyundai’s as­sault on the 2018 World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship. The 56-year-old for­mer F1 racer leads the se­ries af­ter six rounds – with just four to go – and heads to China at the end of Septem­ber look­ing to add to his four out­right race wins of the sea­son so far. Gabriele, what makes the i30 N TCR race­car so quick?

Any car’s per­for­mance is a com­bi­na­tion of things: chas­sis, the bal­ance of the car, the engine’s power and the power de­liv­ery. You’re lead­ing the WTCC, but what will it take for you to win the ti­tle?

This year, the i30 N has been the car to beat. I hope I win the ti­tle, but more than this, I hope a Hyundai driver wins the ti­tle. De­vel­op­ment on this car be­gan well over a year ago, and I think this is what is mak­ing the dif­fer­ence.

What cross­over is there between the i30 N road car and your race­car? The race­car is based on the road car, so many parts are the same; rear sus­pen­sion, the chas­sis, the ba­sic aero­dy­nam­ics and even the 2.0-litre engine are all very sim­i­lar. Just the turbo and the elec­tron­ics are sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent.

What are your own thoughts on the i30 N road car?

For me, the chas­sis stands out. The car is such fun to drive, both on the road and on the track, ac­tu­ally. The front axle is very sharp, and the car has out­stand­ing rear grip so it has ex­cel­lent bal­ance – just like how you want a race­car to be.

Did you play any part in the road car’s de­vel­op­ment?

I tested it to­wards the end of the process, yes, but mostly I worked to de­velop the race­car, to be hon­est. I was in­volved with all as­pects of this, at many Euro­pean cir­cuits.

Sum up your thoughts on the en­tire i30 range in one sen­tence. Ev­ery model has a strong char­ac­ter. These are cars for fam­i­lies but, you know… with a cer­tain fire in­side.

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