Hyundai RN30: innovations driving race car performance
"Utterly mad" - Top Gear
"Rally-Inspired" - Car and Driver
The Hyundai RN30 concept car is generating a lot of buzz following its debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show...and for good reason. The vehicle was created to offer pure driving pleasure on the race track for everyone and features the latest in automotive solutions - driven by BASF.
BASF Hyundai RN30 project coordinators - Nok-young Choi and Billy Kim - share a behind the scenes look at the creation of this chemistry supercharged, high-performance vehicle. Nok-young is a product developer in BASF's Performance Materials division and Billy is the global account leader supporting the Hyundai business.
How did BASF get involved in this project?
Billy: Hyundai Design Center Europe engaged us to support its European concept car creation, aiming to present an impressive showcase of emotion and technical substance.
Our companies previously collaborated on the 2010 HED-7 concept vehicle and have a significant business relationship and good rapport. We were excited about partnering again and utilizing our high-performance automotive competencies to help Hyundai achieve its goal.
Nok-young: Plus, the vehicle needed to be turned around in six months and that was a challenge we wanted to tackle.
During the creation of the HED-7 Concept, we introduced Hyundai to our designfabrik® colleagues and their capabilities, which we turned to again on this project. We believe it was a significant value proposition to be able to offer in-house designers that could consult directly with their vehicle designers while creating the Hyundai RN30.
What are the most innovative and exciting elements about this concept vehicle?
Billy: Hyundai tasked us with introducing elements that are off the beaten track. Carbon fiber is the conventional material used for race cars. Hyundai didn't believe carbon fiber material would result in significant buzz so BASF proposed using its portfolio of lightweight plastics instead. The Hyundai RN30 combines key solutions from the chemical industry with a purposeful aerodynamic design and specialized high-performance technologies.
The roll bar padding is one element we're especially proud of. This is the first time that Infinergy® - the world's first expanded thermoplastic polyurethane and the material that gives the adidas Boost shoes their bounce - has been used in an automotive application. When driving at maximum speeds on a race track, it is of utmost importance that the driver can rely on the uncompromising quality, durability and reliability of the materials. While it's one of the youngest materials in our portfolio, it offers long-term durability and outstanding resilience.
Nok-young: And working across divisions and regions, we were able to leverage our patented transfer coating technology, valure™, in the steering wheel and seat covers. This material enables high-quality surfaces with almost limitless design options, as well as unique material combinations with a wide variety of flexible substrates. The coated surface remains breathable and feels soft.
The dashboard is another innovative component that utilizes our water-based binder Acrodur®. It enabled us to utilize natural fibers to create an environmentally compatible, dimensionally stable and above all, lightweight composite that can be finished in various ways for high-quality design.
Lastly, the color inspires imagination and individualization - achieved with our next-generation, waterborne ColorPro IC basecoat "Performance Blue" with broad color spectrum, flexibility and unmatched quality. As a final step, the vehicle is sprayed with BASF's iGloss® clearcoat that offers an advanced easy-to-clean effect that helps minimize microscratches significantly.
What made the collaboration successful?
Nok-young: As the German saying "die Chemie stimmt" goes - the chemistry is right.
The people at our companies get along well and the diversity within our team enabled us to be successful. The core BASF team consisted of myself, Billy and Jasmina Simon, a transportation engineer, focused on the engineering plastics and polyurethanes for interior and exterior.
Billy: There was an interesting dynamic among the teams since Hyundai is a Korean automaker, but the project was geared toward the European market with European designers from Hyundai.
And we were able to seamlessly support their needs because of the diversity of our own team, as well as the global prowess BASF offers.
We're pleased with the success of the Hyundai RN30 Concept Car and look forward to collaborating with Hyundai on future projects.