Touring car racing is among the world’s most accessible road racing competitions. These small, agile, inexpensive cars are featured in many national, regional and international championships and events, such as the TCR World Tour, the British Touring Car Championship, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series, and the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Manufacturers of these cars target lower price segments than Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin or Porsche, so you see brands like Hyundai, Honda, Audi and Alfa Romeo in touring championships.
Unlike GT3s, touring cars have a patchy presence in simulators, with iRacing covering the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series and RaceRoom the WTCC and WTCR championships.
Introducing the Hyundai Elantra N
The Elantra N is a part of the Hyundai’s N performance lineup, including two other touring cars: Veloster N and i30 N. It was introduced to the public in September 2020 and made a competitive debut in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series 2021 season.
The Elantra features a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with a maximum power output of 350 horsepower and 450 Nm torque sent straight through the front wheels. Although the Elantra is Hyundai’s latest model, several customer racing teams still use Veloster and i30 in touring car championships.
The current touring car lineup in iRacing includes four cars: Hyundai Veloster N (released in 2022 Season 2), Hyundai Elantra N (2022 Season 1), Honda Civic Type R (2022 Season 1) and the oldest Audi RS 3 LMS (2019 Season 4).
The Hyundai Elantra N costs 12.95 USD, the same as the other touring cars in iRacing. There are no significant differences in performance between the two Hyundai models, although the Elantra N is a more common choice for its handling characteristics.
The Basic Car Characteristics
All touring cars are front-wheel drive, so expect a bit of a learning curve if you are used to driving and setting up GT3, prototype or formula cars.
One significant issue with front-wheel drive cars is their heavy front weight distribution due to engine placement and transmission in the front. For example, the static weight distribution of the Hyundai Elantra N is almost 3:2 front-to-rear, compared to 1:1 for the front-engine rear-wheel drive Mercedes AMG GT4 and 3:5 for the rear-engine rear-wheel drive Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.
As a result, the front axle is often overloaded, contributing to understeer. In contrast, the rear axle has insufficient load, and maintaining proper rear tyre temperature and grip is difficult. You can do a few setup tricks to solve these issues, some of which are the same as in the rear-wheel drive cars, and others are unique to the Hyundai Elantra N.
Firstly, standard measures that help to deal with understeer in this car: soft front spring rate (70 N/mm), high negative front and rear camber (up to -3.9 degrees), negative front toe (up to -3.7 degrees) and low front ride height (regulated by the spring perch offset in iRacing).
You will need stiff bump dampers to stabilise the car because the car has a soft suspension and a lot of weight at the front.
Secondly, there are two setup tricks specific for the Hyundai Elantra N:
- Have a stiff front anti-roll bar for a sharp, pointy front end, allowing you to be more aggressive with the steering. The rear anti-roll bar is usually softer than the front to give the car more rotation from mid-corner to the exit.
- Setups often use a small negative rear toe (toe-out) to reduce understeer further because you are not too concerned about snap oversteer at the rear in front-engine cars.
Where You Can Race It
With the D licence, you can race in the Touring Car Challenge Fixed championship. As the name suggests, this championship includes four touring cars available in iRacing and uses a fixed setup.
Although this is the entry-level competition for touring cars in iRacing, beware that it is not very popular and often struggles to fill up one full split. During weekdays, you will often race against ten or even fewer cars. Unfortunately, the same applies to the Touring Car Challenge available for the C licence drivers.
The calendar updates weekly during the season and includes interesting tracks, such as the small and nicely flowing Knockhill Racing Circuit. Three circuits in the calendar are a part of the base subscription, and nine are DLCs, which cost 15.95 USD each.
Key facts about the Touring Car Challenge Fixed championship:
- Individual championship with a fixed setup
- Races appear every 2 hours and last 15 minutes
- Rolling start, single class (4 touring cars to choose from)
- All driving aids are allowed
- Up to 20 drivers on the grid
The first championship available with the C licence is the Touring Car Challenge. It is the same as the D licence touring car championship; the only difference is the open setup.
- Coach Dave Academy drivers and engineers have developed a setup pack for the Hyundai Elantra N and this championship, which includes setups for all tracks used in the 2023 Season 3. Setups for the Honda Civic Type R are also available as a part of the iRacing Setup Subscription, which are made easy to install with our free Coach Dave Delta app.
Next, you can race in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with the C licence. It is the main championship for touring cars in iRacing because the car lineup and circuits are similar to its real-life counterpart. The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge is a multiclass series with GT4 cars and 2-hour races with no driver swaps. The calendar includes six circuits; only one is free, and the rest are DLCs.
Key facts about the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge:
- Individual championship with an open setup
- Races start only on the weekends and last 2 hours
- Rolling start, multiclass (GT4 and touring cars)
- All driving aids are allowed
- Up to 40 drivers on the grid
The third championship available with the C licence is called the Creventic Endurance Series. This championship features team-based 12-hour endurance racing with three car classes on track: GT3 Cup Porsche 992, five GT4 and only two touring cars (due to the iRacing limit of eight car models in a race). Thankfully, one of them is the Hyundai Elantra N. Only one race remains in 2023: on December 2 at Virginia International Raceway.
Key facts about the Creventic Endurance Series:
- Team championship with an open setup
- Races follow a strict calendar and last 12 hours
- Rolling start, multiclass (GT3 Cup, GT4 and touring cars)
- All driving aids are disallowed
- Up to 55 teams on the grid
Finally, two special events during the year include the Hyundai Elantra N:
- iRacing ROAR in January, inspired by the real-world Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. This multiclass race has GT4 cars, touring cars and the Toyota GR86.
- iRacing Nürburgring 24h in May, inspired by the real-world ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours. This endurance race includes four classes: GT3, GT4, touring cars and Porsche Cup cars.
Although front-wheel drive touring cars attract fewer sim racing drivers than GT, prototype and formula cars, they provide a unique challenge for drivers that you should experience. Touring cars are almost as fast as GT4s but quite forgiving and encourage close racing. With the Hyundai Elantra N in iRacing, look at the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge as the main series to compete and special events to experience large grids and racing with multiple other classes.