Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis Clinch IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Title BHA Wins Third Consecutive IMSA Championship

Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis Clinch
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Title
BHA Wins Third Consecutive IMSA Championship
Speedway, IN Nov. 14, 2021 – The Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) pairing of Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis clinched the TCR class drivers’ title in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) by finishing fifth in the #77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR at the series finale at Road Atlanta. The result also allowed them to clinch the teams’ championship, while Hyundai was confirmed as manufacturers’ champions for the second consecutive year.
It was the second championship win for Lewis at the wheel of a Hyundai – he also won the drivers’ crown in 2019 – but a first for Hagler in her first season as part of the Hyundai Motor America-supported team. The title also makes her the first female IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge champion and the first female Touring Car Racing (TCR) champion in North America. “2021 has been a tremendous season. Congratulations to Hyundai for securing a second consecutive Manufacturers’ Championship in the Michelin Pilot Challenge and to Michael and Taylor on bringing home the Driver and Team Championships. We could not have asked for anything more,” said Bryan Herta.
Their run to the championship was earmarked by incredible consistency. Across the 10-event season they scored only one win, courtesy of a late pass for the lead at Lime Rock Park but amassed a total of six podiums – by far the highest tally in the class. They only finished outside of the top five once this season. “I am really proud of Taylor and our success together this season. At every race, she turned over a perfect race car for me to contend for the podium with and that is not easy on these tracks with 35 or more cars out there. This truly is a team championship, a team accomplishment and it is very satisfying,” said Michael Lewis, the first driver to become a two-time TCR champion in North America.
Their performance across the year put them in a comfortable position entering the two-hour finale. The pair only had to start the race to be guaranteed enough points to end the season in celebration. Lewis and Hagler also gave BHA the teams’ title for a third consecutive season. “I am so honored to represent Hyundai, Michelin, IMSA and of course my team, Bryan Herta Autosport as the first female to hold the Michelin Pilot Challenge title. I joined this team earlier this year knowing I would have the tools to become a better race car driver, but I didn’t really expect to win this championship so quickly. I have a lot of gratitude for my co-driver Michael (Lewis) and our Engineer Kyle Compton, they encouraged me when I needed it, challenged me every race weekend and they really helped me refine my skills on the track,” commented Taylor Hagler.
The manufacturers’ crown was decided in the final corners of the final race of the season. Hyundai entered the weekend with a 40-point lead over their closest rivals, but points for third place provided by BHA/Hyundai Customer Support Drivers Tyler Gonzalez and Tyler Maxson in their Copeland Motorsports Veloster N TCR – allowed Hyundai to increase their advantage in the final standings.
BHA’s pair of Elantra N TCR cars, which made their debut at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway were similarly crucial to securing the sweep of the titles. The Elantra N TCR crews won a race apiece. Parker Chase and Ryan Norman scored the model’s first win in IMSA competition just three races into the season at Mid-Ohio – the same track where the Veloster N TCR had its own maiden victory in 2019 – before Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker led a 1-2-3 for BHA at Hyundai’s home race at California’s Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca in September.
Between them, the two Elantra N TCR scored six podiums and accounted for four pole positions – the most of any model on the grid. The pace of the new-for-2021 package was on full show in qualifying for the finale at Road Atlanta where the two cars locked out the front row before leading the early part of the race. Chase would be the best placed of the Elantra N TCR drivers in the championship – taking second place. That finish was equaled by his #98 team, with the #33 of Wilkins and Gottsacker ending the year fifth in the teams’ points. Harry Gottsacker was recognized at the season ending awards banquet where he was given the Motul Pole Award trophy for the second year in a row. Gottsacker tied the series record for the most pole positions in TCR with his fifth career pole at Virginia International Raceway.
Michael Johnson Racing joined the trio of BHA entries this season, running the #54 Universal Coating Veloster N TCR adapted with hand controls. Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson started their first season with the Hyundai on a high point. On a circuit where straight-line speed is vital, they became the first Hyundai crew ever to stand on the podium at the famous Daytona International Speedway after finishing third in the series’ showpiece season opener. Johnson and Simpson revisited the podium later in the season, finishing second at Virginia International Raceway, and finished sixth in the championship.

2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Drivers’ Standings
After 10 races


1 T. Hagler/M. Lewis 2870
2 P. Chase 2660
3 R. Block/T. Lewis 2600
4 R. Eversley 2600
5 H. Gottsacker/M. Wilkins 2550
6 M. Johnson/S. Simpson 2540

2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Teams’ Standings
After 10 races

1 #77 Bryan Herta Autosport 2870
2 #98 Bryan Herta Autosport 2660
3 #5 KMW Motorsport with TMR Engineering 2600
4 #33 Bryan Herta Autosport 2550
5 #54 Michael Johnson Racing 2540
6 #17 JDC-Miller Motorsports 2450

2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Manufacturers’ Standings
After 10 races

1 Hyundai 3210
2 Audi 3150
3 Honda 3140
4 Alfa Romeo 3000
Story contributed by Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai Motor America, BHA
Images: www.BHAMedia.com – Image copyright @LATUSA
Video: Subscribe to the BHA YouTube channel for video updates, Interviews and features from each race weekend: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdpjGo7dEuzYazs2ioBMVPQ/videos
2x TCR Champion Michael Lewis at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Nov. 12, 2021
Bryan Herta Autosport celebrates the team championship at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Nov. 12, 2021
Taylor Hagler at the Champions Press Conference at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Nov. 12, 2021
#77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR
2021 Drivers CHAMPIONS
Highlights: 1 Win (Lime Rock Park) 5 Podiums: Sebring (3rd), Watkins Glen 4hr (3rd), Watkins Glen (3rd), Laguna Seca (3rd)
Michael Lewis: “It means a lot to win a second title with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai. Taylor and I have been very consistent all year and in contention at just about every race, and the reward for that is the championship! Taylor is great role model for young girls everywhere and it’s an honor to be her teammate and to see her make history as the first woman to win this championship. Thank you to our amazing team, who work so hard – they never stop and of course to Hyundai, who sets the benchmark for manufacturers.”
Taylor Hagler: “Being the first female champion in Michelin Pilot Challenge such an honor. I admired Christina (Nielson) growing up and to now have a place alongside her in IMSA’s record books is very, very special. Although I am only four years into my auto-racing career, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by family, teammates and coaches who have given me guidance and support, so a big thank you to them! To be a brand ambassador and now a champion for Hyundai is just incredible. It’s no surprise to me that this team are three-time champions, they work relentlessly to be the best, and it shows.”
#98 Elantra N TCR
2021 Driver Standings: Parker Chase 2nd – Ryan Norman 8th
2021 Team Standings: 2nd
Highlights: 1 Win (Mid-Ohio)
3 Podiums: Watkins (2nd), Road America (2nd), Laguna Seca (3rd)
2 Pole Positions (Ryan Norman)
Notes: Norman did not contest the 2nd race at Watkins Glen to compete in IndyCar event at Mid-Ohio
Parker Chase: “What a great year it’s been with BHA. We came in to the year blind with a new car and close to no testing, and to wrap it up second in the championship is amazing. As a whole, we learned a lot over the last 11 months and have improved loads with the Elantra N TCR. Next year can’t come soon enough!”
Ryan Norman: “It was an awesome season developing and winning with the Elantra N TCR. I’m so happy for Parker and the #98 team finishing second in the championship. He was so fast all year. I Can’t say enough about this team and congratulations Hyundai on the well-deserved manufacturers’ title.”
#33 Elantra N TCR
2021 Driver Standings: 5th
2021 Team Standings: 4th
Highlights: 1 Win (Laguna Seca), 1 Podium: VIR (2nd),
2 Pole Positions (Harry Gottsacker)
Mark Wilkins: “Another fantastic season for BHA and Hyundai. Winning back-to-back manufacturers’ titles for Hyundai was our main goal, and I am glad we accomplished that! It was a tough end for Harry and I at Road Atlanta but a positive season overall. The all-Elantra front row at the finale shows how far we came with the new car over the course of the season. There were a lot of highlights this year, specifically our win at Laguna Seca and seeing Robbie Wickens test the Veloster with us at Mid-Ohio certainly stand out! I’m really proud of the BHA team and their fantastic efforts and I am elated for Michael and Taylor on their championship. Can’t wait to get rolling in 2022!”
Harry Gottsacker: “It’s always fun working with Mark (Wilkins), David (Brown, technical director/engineer), and the #33 guys. The highlight of the season was winning Hyundai’s home race at Laguna Seca. The development work and progress we made on our Hyundai Elantra N TCR was nothing short of amazing. We fell short of our expectations for the season due to some things out of our control and just some of those racing deals. This championship is so difficult and you have to be perfect to fight for the top step. Congratulations to our #77 teammates on their driver’s championship and to Hyundai for another manufacturers’ title!”
#54 Universal Coating Veloster N TCR
2021 Drivers Standings: 6th
2021 Team Standings: 5th
Highlights: 2 Podiums: Daytona (3rd) and VIR (2nd)
Michael Johnson: “It was nice to finish the season on a high note. Road Atlanta was my best qualifying of the year, I felt really good in the car. I wish it was like that all year, but I think I picked up some things at the end of the year. I can’t thank BHA enough for all of the hard work, especially on my hand controls and getting that dialed in. Also a big thanks to my team, Josh Gibbs and Josh Reasoner.
It was rewarding to head into the finale in contention for the top-three in the championship, and we’ve got a lot of momentum going into 2022. Congratulations to the #77 crew and Taylor and Michael on their championship, and a big thanks to Hyundai for their support all season.”
Stephen Simpson: “It was great to be able to go into the final race of the year with a shot at the top three in the championship. That is something that Michael and I have not been able to do in the past. That was a positive that we will build on next year. We ended the season with two podium finishes and it was a good first season with Hyundai overall.”


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