GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 2019 Hyundai Veloster N Film Shoot
Mason Filippi is a young guy living in California. He races cars for a living. Put those two facts together, and you might think he’d be a little jaded when it comes to automobiles that have the capacity to excite. And yet, despite competing with a factory-backed team in a major racing series, Mason’s enthusiasm for his daily driver is still pure puppy dog. Racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Series with the TCR version of the Hyundai Veloster N, his road car—a 2019 Veloster N—is the perfect complement to the tool of his trade.
Though it’s not packing 350 horsepower or clad in superwide composite bodywork like the racing version, the Veloster N more than earns its right to be considered a genuinely hot hatch.
Plus, it does improve on its competition-spec counterpart in one regard: there are three pedals and six forward gears to row through in the production car—for a manufacturer without the same depth of sporting history as the Volkswagens and Renaults and other quick hatchback builders of the world, the fact that Hyundai recognizes the attraction of a true manual gearbox shows that the N performance division isn’t focused solely on the spec sheet, but on the driving experience. That’s not to say the specs aren’t up to snuff, though.
For Mason, a Bay Area native, the Veloster N is comfortable and civil enough to escape the tangle of traffic in San Francisco to get to the good driving roads, and once there, a press of the race flag N mode button on the steering wheel wakes up the Veloster’s wilder side. With the 2.0L turbocharged mill putting out 275hp in Mason’s Performance Package-equipped version, the car will trap the quarter mile above 100mph, while the firm track-tuned suspension keeps it planted whenever the road gets curvy.
In other words, it makes for a great do-it-all machine for someone who needs to commute in the same car they bring to the track, but Mason’s commute is to the track. Driving for the Brian Herta Autosport team as one of the “new guys,” Mason’s own rise through the ranks of motorsport from spec Miata racer to driving for a factory-backed team in IMSA is a good analog to the Hyundai story at large: they’ve both been competing for some time, but are now stepping up to a much bigger stage.
Hyundai has branched out beyond rallying to start a strong customer racing program that sees the blue and orange N cars taking on tracks from Laguna Seca to the Nordschleife, and Mason has been along for the ride as he moves up in the world of motorsport with the support of a manufacturer that’s making a big investment into the long haul. It’s never too late to start building a racing pedigree, and these two have clearly hit the ground running.