Perhaps the most amazing thing about this sleek new Hyundai Genesis SEMA show coupe from Rhys Millen Racing is not that it features a 500-hp turbocharged engine in a lightweight carbon-fiber body and a structure ready to race in the JGTC or that it was built on a shoestring budget by a small crew working long into the night for many nights.
No, the most amazing thing about it is that Rhys Millen Racing finished the car three weeks before SEMA.
In the tuner world, where most cars are being painted inside the trailer on the way to Vegas, where “yes” means “probably not” and $14,000 means $255,617 or more, where everyone expects everyone else to be at least exaggerating or at most lying, building cars from stolen parts and repainting each car 14 times to fake homologation, Rhys Millen Racing brought a car in on time and under budget! We know--we saw it roll out of the trailer and drive around a racetrack exactly three weeks before SEMA. And that was two days after Millen won the triple crown of drifting using largely the same crew that was building the show car. Kudos, Rhys!
And it’s a nice car, we thought, as it was being backed ever so gently out of the trailer and onto the tarmac before us, forcing us to reassess our former belief not only in tuners but in all of humanity itself. Maybe in Hyundai, too, because, as we said, it’s a nice-looking car. It looks like a show car that might be as much show as go, as the kids say.
“We wanted to take something that looks statically appealing, something that you would see at a car show, but which also has all of the form and function of a race car,” said Millen, who should be in some sort of sleep-rehab clinic but instead was talking to us.
The car looks more like a race car than anything else. Indeed, Millen said the main influence comes from the Japanese road-racing series JGTC, specifically the GT300 class, “a modified street-car sort of thing.”
A really modified street-car sort of thing. Almost every body part you see is carbon fiber, taken from molds made directly off the body of a Genesis coupe. The hood, front fenders, roof, doors, decklid, wing and diffuser tunnels are all carbon fiber. The rear fenders are fiberglass. The RMR body retains the same lines as the donor Genesis coupe, though they are exaggerated. Since they have the molds now, RMR could start selling parts immediately, though the U.S.-spec Genesis coupe won’t arrive in showrooms until March.
The team hasn’t weighed the show car, but it should be considerably lighter than the 3,303-pound curb weight of the stock version. For instance, the doors alone went from 68 pounds stock to eight pounds on the show car.
Underhood, the team chose the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine instead of the 3.8-liter V6, because the four is likely to be the choice of tuners. Tuners love turbos, and the stock Hyundai starts out with turbocharged induction. The V6 is normally aspirated.
The goal with the four is 500 hp, to be achieved with a Turbonetics turbocharger and an AEM engine-management system. A big intercooler was in place at the front of the block, but while it was in complete running form, the engine was not fully modified at the time we saw it. RMR had only about five weeks to build the whole shebang, after all. It should be closer to fully sorted out by the time we see it again at SEMA.
Likewise, there are big plans for the suspension in the next three weeks. Right now, it’s mostly stock underneath, but Millen has plans to include his own links with adjustability for castor, camber and sway bar settings by SEMA time.
Well, Millen’s contract to run the Pontiac Solstice in Formula Drift and at Pikes Peak has run out, leaving career possibilities wide open. He politely declines to
answer any questions about the future of the race car you see here, except to say, “I’m a free agent, so if Hyundai is interested in me for Pikes Peak or Formula Drift or road racing, I’m open.”
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