Era Motorsport makes its return to the American Rally Association Green APU Championship this weekend at the Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, Michigan. The powerhouse duo of Kyle Tilley and Martin Brady will be piloting a Hyundai i20 R5 as part of the Hyundai Customer Racing Program.
Last year at Sno*Drift Tilley and Brady finished second on the national podium behind friend-of-the-team Mark Piatkowski in what was an extremely icy and challenging event for all involved.
This will be Era Motorsport’s second event with Hyundai Customer Racing, following their 2022 Arctic Rally Lapland entry in a Hyundai i20 R5.
“I can’t wait to be back in a Hyundai for Sno*Drift,” said Tilley. “The i20 was incredible to drive in Finland last year, and I’m excited to have a chance to get behind the wheel of another here in the states.”
The Hyundai i20 R5
The Hyundai i20 R5 was Hyundai’s first foray into the R5 landscape, and the first car
developed entirely by the Hyundai Customer Racing department Program. Over the course of five years with the i20, multiple upgrades, changes, and improvements were made as new cars were produced and the design steadily developed in order to match the highly competitive class to continue to gain a competitive edge.
Era Motorsport’s car is Chassis #88, the third evolution of the i20 R5, and one of the final built before the introduction of the new i20 N Rally2 car.
The car has already made history, winning the Spanish Gravel Cup at the hands of Iván
Ares, before finding its way to Era Motorsport.
The car is built fully to Rally2 spec, with a turbocharged 1.6l four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed sequential gearbox delivering power to all four wheels. Now coming to the states, the i20 R5 is expected to be at the top level of the American Rally Association Green APU National Championship as the 2023 rule set aims to balance the performance of Rally2 and open class cars.
Hyundai Customer Racing will also be represented by the Green APU Rally USA team at Sno*Drift with rising-star Patrick Gruszka and co-driver Florian Barral competing in a 2019 Hyundai i20 R5.
According to Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Cisotti, “Hyundai
Motorsport Customer Racing is excited to increase its presence in the American Rally
Association. Rallying in the US has seen a growth in interest over the past few years with increased competition at the top end, as well as the rest of the field. To have two cars starting at the 2023 season-opener competing at the highest level of the championship is a great sign of things to come for the sport, and Hyundai Motorsport’s involvement in it.”
After a test session on wednesday, Tilley said of the i20, “this is incredible to drive!”
“This has to be the best car I’ve driven in the ARA.”
Fifty years ago in 1973, Sno*Drift hosted the first ever rally as part of a national US rally championship in the inaugural SCCA ProRally season where Erhard Dahm took first place behind the wheel of a Jeep Wagoneer. A long-time favorite among local rally groups such as the Ralligators, Sno*Drift was an easy choice for the occasion
Now 50 years later, Sno*Drift is the season-opener for the American Rally Association Green APU National Championship, and is infamous as one of the most difficult winter rallies in the world.
Due to Michigan state and county law, there are no studded tires allowed on the event, and the snowy and icy stages of the Northern Lower Peninsula have to be navigated on pure rubber.
The lack of studded tires equalizes the field, allowing for competitors with a power disadvantage to be on a more level playing field with the higher-powered teams at the front.
This year’s Sno*Drift will consist of 15 stages and 117.5 competitive miles of racing between 41 competitors.
Sno*Drift in 2023 is already looking to be one of the most competitive events in recent US Rally history
In addition to Era Motorsport’s entry, 2022 ARA Champions Brandon Semenuk and Keaton Williams will return piloting the lone Subaru Motorsports USA entry, two-time NACAM champion and three-time Mexican Rally Champion Ricardo Cordero will be returning after a promising performance last year, and current Canadian Rally Champion Jérôme Mailloux will make his US debut.
“We’re thrilled to play host to such amazing talent as we kick off the 2023 American Rally Association Green APU National Championship,” said Sno*Drift chairman Alex Berger.
“We’re excited to once again be back in Montmorency County Michigan to kick-off the year. The locals have been amazing to us as usual, and we can’t wait to give them another year of rallying to remember!”
Sno*Drift Begins on Friday, February 10, 2023 with Parc Exposé at Briley Township Park from 2:30 - 5:00 p.m., and the first car leaving at 4:00 p.m. Cars will race into the night until about 10:00 p.m before stopping for the night.
Day two will start with another Parc Exposé from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Briley Township Park with the first car heading to stage at 11:00 a.m. Cars will be on stage until 8:30 p.m., with podium celebrations beginning soon after at Briley Township Park.
The event will be livestreamed by the American Rally Association on their official social media channels.
American Rally Association
The American Rally Association is the premiere rally sanctioning body in the United States. The 2023 Green APU National Championship will be held across 8 different events across the country, and feature some of the most famous stage rallies in North America.
The championship is run as a “best six of eight” format in 2023, meaning the two lowest performing rallies from each competitor will be dropped at the end of the year.
Past champions include David Higgins, Barry McKenna, Travis Pastrana, and Brandon Semenuk.