Well before the launch of the high-performance brand N, Hyundai Motor Company had planned the Project RM(Racing Midship) to develop the technology for high-performance cars. If the World Racing Championship, where this year the N took the manufacturer championship, could be called the testing arena and the cradle for the N Model, the Project RM could be considered the technological bridge between the N model and motorsport, a high-performance lab on circuit. We reviewed the Project RM’s stages of development with a special focus on the recently unveiled RM19.
The Project RM: Efforts at High-Performance Technology Development
The Project RM’s R&D efforts encompass a wide range, including powertrain, chassis, body, suspension, and aerodynamics, all intended for application to high-performance cars. The technology in development then is subjected to real on-road tests. As the name RM—Racing Midship—suggests, the focus is particularly on developing high-performance rear-wheel-drive cars. The midship structure places the heavy engine in the middle of the car and thus has advantages in weight distribution and body rigidity. As a result, many sports cars have traditionally used the midship structure.
To this point, Project RM has revealed a total of four concept cars from RM14 to RM19. Unveiled at the 2014 Busan Motor Show, the RM14 had a midship engine structure resembling a pure sports car and boasted the 2.0ℓ T-GDi engine at 300 horsepower. The RM15, debuted in the 2015 Seoul Motor Show, made remarkable improvements in the chassis. Aluminum skeleton and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) exterior shell resulted in reduced weight and increased rigidity.
The technological know-how from the RM14 and the RM15 was then translated into the RM16. True to the maxim ‘form follows function,’ the RM16 showed an aerodynamically optimized design and was equipped with an electric supercharger, e-LSD, and a digital variable exhaust system for improved driving performance.
RM Series Concept Car: A Symbol of Hyundai’s Technological Prowess
The newest addition to the RM series, the RM19 was recently revealed at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. The RM19 is a high-performance concept car that delivers power and agile handling not only on normal roads but also on racing circuits. The model uses the midship structure common to the series and further employed various high-performance technology used on the Veloster N TCR Racecar.
The RM19 is Hyundai’s ‘halo car,’ a symbolic car that is to represent the manufacturer’s distinctive sense of purpose and spirit for challenges. Hyundai’s lineup can be broadly categorized into standard models, the N line, High-performance N, halo cars, and motorsport race cars. Halo cars like the RM19 are positioned between race cars and high-performance N; in other words, it’s a sports car with racecar-level technology that serves as an experimental cradle for the high-performance N Model. Indeed, the RM19 features high performance comparable to that of racecars and simultaneously reflects Hyundai’s vision for the N Brand.
The RM19, A High-Tech Racecar on the Road
The RM19 actively reflects the elements of Hyundai’s high-performance models Veloster N and race car Veloster N TCR. The exterior design was based on the Veloster N, to which additional parts were added in consideration of aerodynamic performance. The powertrain and the transmission are slightly tuned versions of Veloster N TCR’s. But the midship engine structure resulted in noticeable changes in the vehicle structure. The RM19 measures at 4,319 mm (length), 1,945 mm(width), and 1,354 mm (height), which is longer than the Veloster N by 54 mm and wider by 135 mm. The size of the rear tire (at 305/30R20) also reveals that the limitation of the chassis was overcome, along with the improved performance in the powertrain.
One large difference from the Veloster N is the structure of the suspension. The RM19 uses a front McPherson strut and a rear double wishbone, combined with a hydraulic damper with adjustable damping force (3 levels). A new subframe that conjoins to the chassis was also developed. The front was built with light aluminum material, while the rear was built with a blend of tube frames and steel plates for increased rigidity. The brake system was also reconfigured. The front now comes with 6 piston calipers and the rear with 4, combined with the ABS system used for motorsport. The steering mechanism is the Veloster N’s rack-type motor-driven power steering (R-MDPS), and the steering wheel is the same as the part installed in the Veloster N TCR.
The chassis too was adjusted to fit the midship structure. With the powertrain in the center and the rear of the body, the design was adapted to the double wishbone, and the wheelhouse was considerably expanded to increase the tire diameter and the wheel tread. And rather naturally, there is a roll cage. However, given that the vehicle was designed as a 2-seater with a midship layout, the roll cage installed is a 4-point one stretching from the A-pillar to the B-pillar, rather than a 6 point one where the A-pillar is linked all the way to the C-pillar or the trunk.
Legacies of racecar are readily noticeable in the exterior design as well. All exterior panels of the RM19 show an aerodynamic design. The bonnet with the intake vents and the rear fender were designed specifically for the RM19, and the huge rear spoilers and the rear diffusers were taken from the Veloster N TCR. Taken together, the RM19 produces a massive 190kg of downforce at the speed of 200km/h.
The engine came from the Veloster N TCR. But because the RM19 was free from the balance of performance regulations on racecars, the peak power was increased to 390 hp, and the maximum torque to 48.4kg·m. The secret behind the increased power lies in a new turbocharger: the turbine was enlarged, and the twin-scroll was changed to the single-scroll mechanism. The head gasket and the head bolt were also reinforced for durability’s sake. For reference, the RM19 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h within 4 seconds.
Along with superior performance, the RM19 also offers possibilities for development: application of diverse powertrains. The RM19 could be seen as a lab-on-the-move, in charge of verifying the performance of various powertrains. In particular, it leaves open the possibility of becoming an eco-friendly sports car that transcends the limitations of the internal combustion engine. The continuing evolutions of the Project RM leave us expectant for the future of Hyundai’s high-performance brand N—and we trust that future will certainly be bright.