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Hyundai Summons the ‘Drift King’ to Push the Ioniq 5 N to Its Limit

Keiichi Tsuchiya will demo the high-performance EV's drifting chops at World Time Attack in September.

The Ioniq 5 N is proof of just how serious Hyundai is about making properly exciting performance EVs. In that same vein, the company is calling on the Drift King himself to demonstrate the vehicle at the World Time Attack Challenge this year.

Yes, Hyundai has secured the services of Keiichi Tsuchiya for the Australian debut of the Ioniq 5 N. Tsuchiya will pilot the Ioniq 5 N for a series of demo laps at Sydney Motorsport Park, which is hosting the 2023 World Time Attack Challenge on September 1 and 2.

With a name like “Drift King,” you know Tsuchiya has the perfect resume for the job. Coming to fame as a racing driver after honing his driving skills on the streets, he earned his famous nickname for his use of drifting techniques in regular racing events. Beyond his many victories in Japanese touring car racing, he’s also taken on Le Mans seven times, and served as a consultant for Initial D and Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. He also helped found D1 Grand Prix, which transformed drifting into a global phenomenon.

The first all-electric N model is a big deal for Hyundai, which has done well to establish a respected performance brand in less than a decade. The automaker hasn’t skimped on the Ioniq 5 N, giving it an almighty 641 horsepower dual-motor drivetrain. It sends power to all four wheels, with a locking rear diff that should help Tsuchiya kick up plenty of tire smoke. There’s also the nifty N Drift Optimizer, which sends the majority of power to the rear end for lurid sideways action on demand. It’s intended to help maintain drift angle, too, and, in Hyundai’s words, “make every driver feel like a Drift King.”

While Tsuchiya is most famously known for his deft skills behind the wheel of the Toyota Corolla AE86, he’s certain to put on a good show with Hyundai’s new electric weapon. It’s nice to see a manufacturer pursuing handling and fun as goals for a performance EV, beyond basic straight-line acceleration. The Drift King is the perfect person to put that ideal into practice with deft slides and big clouds of tire smoke.

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