It had been one of those gruelling long days. The sort where you don’t really remember waking up, when you question just how many hours there actually are in a day, when you wonder if you’ll ever make it home. Yet, like all business trips there is an air of excitement that keeps you going. This was one of those occasions.
We’d awoken early to get the first flight of the day out of London Heathrow. Destination: Frankfurt. As a country we were basking in the positive afterglow of the London Olympics and Paralympics. For our company, though, at the end of 2012 a new era was dawning; we had been selected by Hyundai to support PR and marketing for their newly announced World Rally Championship programme.
Visiting Hyundai’s European headquarters in Offenbach for the first time since being chosen following a competitive pitch, we had begun outlining the PR strategy for what would become the team’s development year. The announcement of the Korean manufacturer’s entry into WRC had already garnered plenty of intrigue in motorsport circles. We had been entrusted with laying important foundations, and it was on this particular visit when we had the first glimpse of what would become Hyundai Motorsport GmbH (HMSG).
Being chauffeured by Stefan Ph. Henrich – the man who would go onto become Director of HMSG’s Marketing and Communications team – we were transferred to an industrial area in Alzenau, in the north of the Aschaffenburg district. The town’s population of 19,000 was set to grow to the tune of a few hundred over the coming years. Stepping foot into a spacious shell of a facility on Carl-Zeiss-Straße on a cold winter’s evening in 2012, we bought into a vision that would – over the next seven years – become a reality.
There are defining moments in any company’s history that alter its trajectory; this was one such period for both SQN and for Hyundai: the start of a long-running and mutually beneficial working partnership that has recently celebrated its seventh anniversary – and its first WRC manufacturers’ title.
Over the years, we’ve supported HMSG’s growing team with a range of PR, marketing and communications services. From driver announcements to commemorative yearbooks, rally reports to web-based content, launches to on-event support, we are proud to have witnessed the team’s growth from nascent pretenders to title winners. Our involvement covers the full breadth of the company from WRC to Customer Racing – and as we look towards 2020, the opening of a new electric chapter.
We’ve had many gruelling long days of work along the way, just like that December trip back in 2012, but the excitement is still keeping us going. Congratulations to our friends on securing their debut FIA World Rally Championship title. We have been immensely proud to be part of the journey.