New Cars for APRC Teams

While there has been no international events rallies held in the Asia-Pacific region during 2020, a number of current APRC drivers and teams have managed to use the year constructively, either by building news cars or in one case competing in enough events to win a state rally championship.

Paddon reveals spectacular Hyundai EV rally car

2019 FIA APRC Pacific Cup winner Hayden Paddon has competed in several events in 2020 including winning the inaugural City of Auckland Rally (14th Nov), an event born out what was to be New Zealand’s entry back into the World Rally Championship.

The following day didn’t go so well for Paddon when he crashed his 800 HP Hyundai i20 on the Jack’s Ridge televised rally-sprint, however he did get a chance to show off his stunning new Hyundai EV rally car.

Following 18 months of intensive work at their Cromwell facility, Paddon and his six-strong team of engineers and designers were delighted to reveal the completed, fully functional battery powered Hyundai Kona EV rally car to the world.

Paddon Hyundai EV
The project marks a significant milestone in New Zealand automotive and motorsport history, with 80 per cent of the car designed in-house in terms of chassis design, engineering, aerodynamics, suspension, steering, cooling and electrics. Austrian company Stohl Advanced Research and Development (STARD) contributed to the project as Paddon Rallysport’s technical partner, providing guidance and advice.

Paddon Rallysport has worked, and continues to work, closely with local motorsport bodies to make EV technology viable in a rally environment. There are numerous considerations such as how EV cars are serviced between rally stages, regulations on changing battery packs, charging systems, vehicle weight and chassis structure, and the safety of the driver and co-driver and rally marshals during competition and in the event of a crash.

“Finding the way to move forward with EV technology is something we identify as being very important for the future of our sport, not only in New Zealand but globally. If the sport doesn’t respond, it will be left behind commercially and technologically compared to other motorsports”, said Paddon.

Cusco debuts GR Yaris in All Japan Rally Championship

The speed of the WRC Toyota Yaris has never been in doubt, but to date no-one has built or competed in the road-going version, the GR Yaris launched back in February at the Tokyo Motorshow.

That is all about to change with APRC team Cusco Racing entering a rally version of the GR Yaris in this weekend’s (27th Nov) Tour de Kyushu, Round 3 of 2020 All Japan Rally Championship. The Cusco Yaris is to be driven by Hiroshi Yanagisawa with co-driver Takahiro Yashui, entered in the top JN-1 class and where their main rivals will be the high-powered Subaru WRX’s and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X’s powered by 2.0-litre turbo engines.

The Yaris will have a slight weight advantage and the technology in the car is the latest generation compared to its aging rivals, but the heart of GR Yaris is a 1.6L 3-cylinder turbo, a more modern production engine but currently without the power of the Subaru’s and Mitsubishi’s.

The maximum output of the road-going turbo engine in the GR Yaris is 200kW (272PS) and the maximum torque is 370Nm, a phenomenal amount of power in a hatchback car, but the EJ20 engine of the All Japan Rally version of the Subaru WRX for example, boosts 227kW (308PS) and 422Nm and therefore the Cusco Yaris will have a power disadvantage.

Cusco however are looking at the long-term with a plan over the coming months to not only increase the engine power, but also to develop other aspects of the car including suspension, handling, and weight reduction.

Cusco 2020 GR Yaris

Mike Young wins 2020 West Australia Rally Championship

Mike Young winner of the 2019 FIA APRC Asia Cup and co-driver Scott Beckwith have clinched their first Western Australian Rally Championship amidst a dramatic year of COVID-19, close finishes and last minute entries.

What began as a one-off event at the Forest Rally in September, quickly turned into a stunning championship winning season. Young’s clean sweep of victories proved his driving class, while also proving the speed and reliability of his Maximum Motorsport Subaru.

Mike Young 2020 WARC
Heading into Safari Darling Rally held in early this month (November), Young’s absence at the championship’s first event meant he still had to rely on his rivals’ results while also winning the event himself. Fortunately for Young, however, luck was on his side early in the Jarrahdale event.

On the first stage of the event, championship leader, and three-time WA champion, John O’Dowd, crashed out of the event. “It was sad what happened to John, and while it made it easier for me to win the championship, it was pretty nerve racking, as I still had to stay ahead of Ben (Searcy) and finish the event,” Young commented.

The Darling Safari Rally is a unique event in the championship, with no ‘pace notes’ allowed, meaning drivers are reacting to the road ahead as they see it, rather than relying on their notes from reconnaissance. “It was definitely very interesting doing a blind rally and no pace notes,” he said. “I went out and committed early on, as much as I could.”

From that point on, all Young and Beckwith needed to do was win, and win they duly did. It wasn’t all plain sailing, however.

“We managed to build a one and half minute gap over the first four stages, which is just as well – we had a small issue in stage five,” he explained. “It was very dusty and I lost where the next corner was and planted a tree stump head-on. “I thought everything was all over as I was sure I’d smashed up the radiator – throwing away the championship. Luckily for Scott and I, the Maximum Motorsport Subaru has got a nice big bar on the front that protects the radiator from any damage. We were able to continue, and only lost 20 seconds or so.”

From that point on, Young and Beckwith sealed their victory and the illustrious state title. “A big thank-you to the team and Scott for their contribution this year,” Young added.

“We hadn’t planned to do all the rallies, but once we won the first event, we thought we’d better continue! “I want to say a big thank you to Maximum Motorsport for making the opportunity possible,” he concluded.

Co-driver Beckwith was ecstatic with the result. “We went into today needing some luck and things to fall our way, and the rally Gods smiled in us twice. Very disappointed for John and Toni, but it gave Mike and I the opportunity to win the championship. And then we had a little off ourselves and got away with it, so a few heartstopping moments!”

“This is the realisation of a lifelong dream for me” said Beckwith. “Until three months ago I had never won an event outright, and now Mike and I have won three and the championship. We are very excited, and very grateful to the Maximum team and all our sponsors who made this possible.”

Mike Young
While Young’s 2020 rally season is finished, the Asia Pacific Rally Championship regular will turn his attention to next season’s rally plans, and with his experience growing, he will be looking for another strong and successful season.

Story: Brian Young – APSM
Photos: APSM, Cusco, Matt Jelonek and Blake Rattenbury