Needless to say, the last four months have been incredibly challenging, and beyond anything that most of us have ever seen in our lifetime. I was in St. Petersburg, Florida in the second week of March getting ready for our first IndyCar race of the year when the world came grinding to a halt. Like most businesses, we experienced a lot of anxiety wondering what would be ahead for us in the coming months as the country grappled with COVID, and we knew that there was no quick and easy solution that would get us back on track. In the “downtime” however, I was amazed at the initiative our entire Bryan Herta Autosport organization took to contribute and make the best use of our time in the extended shutdown.
We worked with our friends at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to assist in the assembly of PPE masks to be used by front line medical professionals in Indiana. All our Indianapolis-based team members were hands-on in helping to put together over 5,000 face shields that are now being worn by doctors, nurses, and clinicians across the state.
Our commercial arm jumped straight into the world of Esports racing, organizing a Veloster Racing League where myself, our BHA drivers, and our biggest fans got to race against each other online on some of the world’s greatest racetracks on Thursday nights. I also got to take part in The Legends Trophy Esports racing series and compete against some of my old rivals (and buddies) from my IndyCar days.
Eventually in May, we were able to bring our team back to work at the shop in staggered shifts, and got word from both our IMSA and IndyCar officials that we would be going racing again starting in June (IndyCar) and July (IMSA). We also had the opportunity to expand our IMSA team and lineup by adding a fourth entry to be driven by Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman. We knew having another bullet in our gun could be critical in our quest to earn the Manufacturer’s Title this season in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series this season. When I got on the plane to travel to my first race of the COVID era at Texas Motor Speedway, I didn’t know quite what to expect, and while there were some added procedures and protocols after a couple of hours it just seemed like any other race weekend. The biggest change is without our fans the energy is really different and takes some getting used to, that is really the part I miss the most right now.
IMSA competition kicked off again in July, and we were proud to be able to deliver a Hyundai podium sweep in the first race back at Sebring, where our two of our Bryan Herta Autosport Veloster N TCRs were joined by our friends at Forty7 Motorsports in their Veloster N TCR. We followed that up with another podium sweep at Road America where it was fun to see Gabby Chaves, who drove for me in the IndyCar Series and Ryan Norman, who I have known for years get their first Sports Car wins.
While 2020 has thrown us quite a few curveballs, there are a lot of things that I certainly don’t take for granted and have a greater appreciation for. Our partners at Hyundai have been incredibly supportive and have collaboratively worked with us as we have all adapted to the current scenarios we face in motorsports. The management at both IMSA and IndyCar has been top-notch, as they’ve figured out ways to get us back on track, and back in business safely. One only needs to look at the delays other sports faced in returning to action to realize what a coordinated and coherent effort the motorsports industry was able to execute on. And of course, all our team members at Bryan Herta Autosport stepped in and stepped up in unique and meaningful ways during a time when you could throw typical routines and job descriptions out the window.
So now I am prepping to head to my favorite event, the Indianapolis 500. It’s going to be different this year, we will miss the greatest race fans in the world, but the prestige and meaning is still there, and I can’t wait for the green flag to fall at the 104th running, where we’ll be chasing our third Borg-Warner trophy.
Until next time,