Bryan Herta Autosport expands with a third Veloster N TCR for IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
THE TEAM AND HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT SET THEIR TARGET ON IMSA MICHELIN PILOT CHALLENGE MANUFACTURER CHAMPIONSHIP
Bryan Herta Autosport came very close to winning the manufacturer’s championship in 2019 for Hyundai Motors America.
This year, Hyundai Motorsport is to mount a championship challenge with the ultimate goal to clinch the title. For this, Bryan Herta Autosport is to enter a third car for drivers Gabby Chavez and Ryan Norman. A fourth and fifth car will be run by Forty7 Motorsports.
The team is to keep the same driver line-up as in 2019 with Canadian Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis, the pair who came out with the driver’s title as well as race winners Mason Philippi and Harry Gottsacker. What will change is the pairing of the drivers. Mark Wilkins will drive with Harry Gottsacker in the #98 car this season and Micheal Lewis with Mason Philippi are to drive the #21.
Mark Wilkins: “I’m super stocked and happy to have Harry as a teammate as he was with Mason last year and had a great season with a win at Road America and finishing second to us in the championship.”
Harry Gottsacker: “I’m definitely thrilled to be teaming up with Mark, he has plenty of experienced and I’m looking forward in learning his little tricks on the race track. Last year was great with Mason as a teammate and hoping to improve on that this year with Mark.”
Michael Lewis: “It was super special to win the driver’s championship with Mark and the team’s championship with Bryan Herta Autosport in 2019. We had a really good time racing together. We are still racing together event though we are in different cars as our aim as Bryan Herta said is to win the manufacturer’s championship for Hyundai. I’m really stocked to be driving with Mason this year.”
Mason Philippi:”Last year was so much fun to drive the Veloster N TCR car and I had a great time with Harry chasing down the #98 car all season. I’m super excited to be working with Michael and can’t wait to learn from him. It’s going to be a great year.”
Gabby Chaves, 27, from Bogota, Columbia returns to familiar surroundings at BHA, Chaves won the 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year title while driving for Bryan Herta Autosport. 2020 will be Chaves’s first full season in IMSA. “It’s so great to start 2020 on such a positive note and coming back to BHA is just awesome,” said Chaves. “Hyundai’s commitment to this program and the development of the Veloster N TCR really stands out, and to drive for them will be a career highlight. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.”
Ryan Norman, 21, from Cleveland, Ohio joins BHA from Andretti Autosport. Ryan finished fourth in the Indy Lights Championship in 2018 and 2019. 2020 will be his first season of IMSA competition. “Bryan Herta became a mentor to me while I drove at Andretti Autosport. To join his team and race for BHA and Hyundai is such an honor,” said Norman. “I got up to speed very quickly in the new car during a test just before Christmas and felt comfortable immediately. We will be in contention for race wins all year and that is a wonderful feeling going into a new season.”
Team owner Bryan Herta commented, “Hyundai has very quickly established themselves as serious competitors in worldwide motorsports, across multiple platforms. Bringing back our champions, Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis, along with race winners, Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker, for another season was a no-brainer. Having another incredible pairing in Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman is sure to make us even stronger this season.”
Image: Patrice Marchessault / PMstills Photography