Mark Wilkins completed a busy weekend at the Roar with Bryan Herta Autosport in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
SIX DRIVERS FOR TWO CARS STILL MADE FOR A BUSY WEEKEND AS THE TWO CARS ARE BRAND NEW VELOSTER N TCR FOR THIS SEASON.
As the team announced this past weekend its expansion to a three car effort, Mark Wilkins spent most of Friday driving both cars with Michael Lewis to assert the performance of the new chassis as reported in a review of Friday’s activities at the Roar.
The rest of the weekend, Mark may not have driven a whole lot but was quite involved with the #21 car. “I concentrated on the #21 car, in fact I did not do much more driving and gave time to Gaby(Chavez) and Ryan(Norman) as they did not have their car present at the Roar.”
“The test overall was very encouraging, the cars were solid. We expected some teething issues as both cars were brand new. The cars were quick, consistent and nice to drive and responded well to set-up changes as well. We were very happy leaving the test and are confident towards the race.”
That is quite a difference from last year as the team had to skip the Roar since the cars were not ready. “It’s a massive difference compared to last year,” commented Mark. “From Daytona last year to this year, we underwent a number of changes within the team after Sebring. From there on, the team really worked well together and we started to get the results. We were much better prepared for this year’s Roar than we were for the early part of the season last year.”
With adding a third car, the chances for winning the manufacturer’s championship certainly gives the team better odds. Having two highly regarded drivers added to the team in Gaby Chaves and Ryan Norman brings a new dimension to the team. “It is really great to welcome Gaby and Ryan to the team. I worked closely during the Roar with both of them as we shared the #21 car for Saturday and Sunday so I had the opportunity to get to know them and work with them and it goes without saying they are super talented guys. They were right up to pace within a few laps. So, it’s exciting. Hyundai is really wanting to win the manufacturer’s title. We have three cars this year and two others to be run by Forty7 Motorsports. So we went form two cars in 2019 to five in 2020. It is exciting as this car os so much fun to drive and it great that other drivers gets that chance as well and this is putting us in a great position to challenge for the manufacturer’s title. The driver’s title, well we all want to win it, right? We do have a good shot for both.”
With five cars divided into two teams, informations transfer between both teams will have a key role towards the championship. “Bryan Herta Autosport being Hyundai Motorsports representative in North America in car sales and part/services so it’s very important for customers of Bryan Herta Autosport running Hyundai that we help them and make sure that their experience with the car is positive, they are confident and get their questions answered and that started right away at the Roar so they have a better understanding of how the car works.”
It’s going to be an exciting year for us and Hyundai and we definitely have a shot at the title!
Even though Mark mainly drove the #21, he was having a seat fitting in the #98 Sunday afternoon and therefore will remain in #98 this season.
Image: Patrice Marchessault / PMstills Photography