photo credit: Hyundai Motorsport Media Services
Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Josh McErlean has been named as Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver programme member for 2023.
He is one of four drivers selected by Hyundai. Under the programme, McErlean will get opportunities to test with the Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team.
For each event, during the season the four drivers and their teams will be able to rely on the same efficient spare parts supply offered to all customers, while also benefitting from engineering support from Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.
The four drivers were chosen based on several factors including results in their careers so far, their potential and their professional approach to rallying, both in the car and away from the heat of competition. The quartet will receive support throughout the year ahead, aimed at helping them build their careers, with the ultimate aim that they join Hyundai Motorsport’s teams at the highest level of their sporting discipline.
This is the third season that McErlean has been included in the Hyundai Junior Driver programme.
He started his second full campaign in the WRC2 category in Monte Carlos in January.
In 2022, the 23-year-old scored a superb junior class podium at Rally Estonia, but also entered the high company of WRC overall stage winners when he took his i20 N Rally2 to the fastest time on the Porto – Foz Super Special at Rally Portugal.
“Encouraging and supporting young drivers is an important part of our task within the Customer Racing department. It is a win-win situation. We are able to help talented drivers build their careers in motorsport and, with our support, they are able to show the best possible performance of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing-built cars and succeed in their series,” said Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Cisotti.
“The drivers we have selected for the Junior Driver programme for 2023 have all shown great pace in previous seasons, whether as Hyundai Motorsport customers or in the lower classes before making the step up. With the assistance and opportunities we can offer them as Junior Drivers – on top of the high standard of support, we offer all our customer teams and drivers – I am sure they all have a successful year ahead.”
McErlean’s former co-driver James Fulton is now working alongside Craig Breen with the Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team providing evidence the Korean manufacturer’s junior programme does work.
McErlean’s first event under the 2023 programme will be this weekend’s FIA European Rally Championship counting Rally Serras de Fafe in Portugal where he will drive the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy’s Hyundai i20 Rally2 under the PCRS Rallysport banner.