2021 is just around the corner and the elves at Bryan Herta Autosport are hard at work preparing for the 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season. The championship is going to be more intense than ever before with new Hyundai Veloster N TCR entries confirmed for the 2021 grid and more expected, in addition to the two all-new Hyundai Elantra N TCR entries.
We’ve had a lot going on the last few weeks, here is a re-cap:
New for 2021: BHA announced their program and partnerships with the BHA/Hyundai Track Support programs. This story gives an in-depth review for 2021:
Elantra N TCR: BHA will Introduce Hyundai N Brand’s latest TCR specification achievement, the Elantra N TCR model to IMSA competition in 2021. Hyundai’s growing performance N Brand now has three new Elantra models; the Elantra N Line, track-ready Elantra N (on sale fall of 2021) and the Elantra N TCR racecar. Powered for performance by a new two-liter turbocharged I-4 engine derived from Hyundai’s all-new Elantra family of road-going models, the front wheel drive Elantra N TCR shares the same six-speed, paddle-shift operated gearbox as the proven Veloster N TCR and the i30 N TCR. “The Elantra N TCR takes full advantage of the new road car’s stable, high-performance chassis and sleek sedan body shape to optimize its design,” said Olabisi Boyle, vice president, Product Planning and Mobility Strategy, Hyundai Motor North America. “Its bold looks on track are sure to bring a lot of new fans to the Elantra and N Brands. Seeing the new Elantra N TCR in the paddock for this first time is going to be awesome for race fans.”
Season Finale: The season finale of the award-winning Pole Position: Quest for the Championship was released last week. The episode chronicles Hyundai’s success throughout the 2020 IMPC season which concluded with Bryan Herta Autosport sweeping the Championship and Hyundai winning the Manufacturer’s title. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go_IOQf5W Speaking of awards, Robert Darlymple Productions with MotorTrend received The “Best in Show” Davey Award for the Pole Position series. Congratulations!
I.C.Y.M.I: Bryan Herta Shares Strategies For A Winning Race Team – Bryan Herta, two-time Indy 500 winner as a team owner, in addition to multiple sports car championships as a team owner, visited Online Race Industry Week to discusses his strategies on developing a successful race team. In this one-hour video recording of the Online Race Industry Week webinar, Herta shares his insights on a full spectrum of challenges faced by race team owners and managers, including selling and maintaining sponsorships, developing a winning culture, the most valuable asset of winning teams, travel logistics and more. EPARTRADE’s John Kilroy hosts.
Familiar Faces: New to the cockpit of the Veloster N TCR, but certainly not new to the intense action of IMSA racing; the drivers just confirmed to race the Veloster N TCR; Taylor Hagler, Michael Johnson, Stephen Simpson and AJ Muss:
Taylor Hagler will co-drive with Michael Lewis in the #77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR for Bryan Herta Autosport. An ambassador for women in motorsports, Taylor is the only female currently competing in the TCR category of IMPC. She became the third women ever to score a pole position when she started up front at Mid-Ohio in 2020. Taylor finished the season with five top-five finishes, including her second place finish at Mid-Ohio. Learn more about Taylor at www.taylorhagler.com
AJ Muss – a versatile, yet determined athlete, 2021 will be an epic year for AJ. He will compete in his second Olympics, representing the U.S.A. in snowboarding. AJ will also team with Hyundai ace Mason Filippi in the #51 Hyundai Veloster N TCR at Copeland Motorsports. Learn more about AJ at www.ajmuss.com
Michael Johnson possesses one of the most inspirational and remarkable stories in all of professional sports. Paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 12 while racing motorcycles, Johnson has overcome all obstacles to make a name for himself in the sport car racing world. He will pilot his Hyundai Veloster N TCR using a set of complex and state-of-the-art hand controls. Although Michael is new to the Veloster N TCR car, he is one of the most accomplished TCR racers in the paddock, having won or finished on the podium with co-driver Stephen Simpson at every event on the IMSA schedule! Learn more about Michael at MichaelJohnsonRacing.com.
Stephen Simpson: Sports Car star Stephen Simpson will team with Michael Johnson in the #54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR. The duo are entering their 10th year working together. Simpson started with Johnson as his driver coach and have been co-drivers since 2016. Simpson is known for his outstanding career in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. He’s won the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and the Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen and finished 4th overall in the 2018 and 2019 DP Championship. Learn more about Stephen at www.stephen-simpson.com.
2021 Confirmed IMPC Hyundai Driver Line-Up:
Bryan Herta Autosport
#33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR: Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins
#98 Hyundai Elantra N TCR: Ryan Norman and Parker Chase
#77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR: Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis
Michael Johnson Racing
#54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR: Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson
#51 Hyundai Veloster N TCR: Mason Filippi and AJ Muss
#27 Hyundai Veloster N TCR: Tyler Maxson and Tyler Gonzalez
2021 Schedule: The 2021 season is quickly approaching and kicks off with the Roar Before the 24 test sessions January 22-24. The series opener at Daytona International Speedway will take place the following weekend, January 27-31st. The entire schedule is available here: https://www.imsa.com/michelinpilotchallenge/imsa-michelin-pilot-challenge-2021-schedule/.