2021 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge
The Downs Casino Resort 240
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Round: 4 of 10 in the 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC)
Racetrack: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY
3.4-mile road course, featuring 11 turns
Race: Saturday, June 26, 2021, at 2:05 pm ET (11:35 pm PT) (4 Hours)
TV: LIVE on NBC Gold Track Pass
Live timing and scoring from each session available at www.IMSA.com
Live radio commentary for every session at www.IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com
Replay: NBCSN Wednesday, June 30th at 5 pm ET
BHA FAST FACTS:
Championship Leaders: Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis, the drivers of the #77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR are leading the IMPC TCR championship by 40 points. The duo, paired together for the first time this season have finished on the podium the last two races, with a third at Sebring and second at Mid-Ohio.
The Elantra Wins On and Off the Track: Parker Chase and Ryan Norman drove the all-new #98 Elantra N TCR to it’s first victory in North America at Mid-Ohio. Already a winner off the track, the Elantra was named the 2021 North American Car of the Year in January, just a week before the racing version, the Elantra N TCR made its’ world debut in TCR competition with BHA at Daytona.
Drivers Camp: The Hyundai Drivers’ Camp, presented by Bryan Herta Autosport wrapped this week. The 2021 camp featured six weeks of intense training from industry leaders.
· PitFit Training
· Dr. Jack Starke renowned sports psychologist
· Kevin Sullivan, the former communications director at the White House,
NBC Universal and The Dallas Mavericks.
The camp also featured corporate presentations from Hyundai Motor America and engineering workshops focusing on set-up, aerodynamics, data acquisition and more.
Hyundai driver Mark Wilkins, the 2019 TCR Champion commented, “It’s incredible that Hyundai and Bryan Herta Autosport provide this type of training both physically and mentally, with the individuals who are considered the best in their industries. This opportunity to better enhance our performance, and to get the most out of ourselves mentally shows massive commitment from BHA and Hyundai. They’ve provided the 2021 class of Hyundai drivers the tools to allow us to perform at our best, and it’s been an exceptional opportunity for us drivers to capitalize on something so unique.”
Women in STEM: Hyundai Motor America is pleased to provide funding for the Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship for any female students in the United States pursuing an undergraduate degree in STEM disciplines. Each of five winners will receive a prize of $10,000. To apply, entries must be submitted no later than June 30, 2021 and applicants can apply here: THE HYUNDAI WOMEN IN STEM SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST: Application Form | The University Network (tun.com).
#33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR
Drivers: Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker
Best Start: 8th Best Finish: 5th Rank: 6th
- Mark Wilkins finished second, enroute to the 2019 IMPC Championship (co-driving with Michael Lewis) the last time IMSA raced at The Glen.
Harry Gottsacker: “My last start at Watkins Glen was in 2019 and we had good speed, but had some unlucky issues with our fuel system. The team has been working hard on our new Elantra N TCR, and I think we will have a good run in both events at Watkins Glen. Our test went well and we are finding a good balance on the car. We should be really good in the high speed stuff and The Glen has a lot of that! Between events, I think we are going to do some fishing at Watkins Glen. This has become a bit of a tradition for us between this race and our race in Canada. Maybe we can get Mark out on the boat with us to see if he has any tricks?”
Mark Wilkins: “I’m incredibly excited to head back to Watkins Glen for back to back races! Since Mid Ohio, all has not been quiet for the Hyundai drivers. Over the past six weeks we have been training hard with the help of PitFit Training as part of this years Hyundai Fitness Camp. This has been an amazing opportunity to not only enhance our physical fitness but also to improve our overall health. Without a doubt, this initiative will enhance performance both on and off of the track, so I’m personally really excited to put all of this hard work to good use over the next two weeks at The Glen. I have many great memories from The Glen going back to a 2008 win in the Daytona Prototype class but more recently a strong second place run with Michael Lewis in 2019. Michael and I had our Veloster N TCR up front for much of the race but a late rain made for an exciting finish and we came up a little short. After a year away from the circuit, we come back in the all new Elantra N TCR and a goal of getting back on the top step of the podium! The Elantra N TCR took its first WIN at Mid Ohio; Harry and I will be looking to see the chequered flag first at Watkins Glen. The Elantra N TCR is well suited to the fast, flowing nature of The Glen and I expect, rain or shine we’ll be in a strong position at the front of the field. With 2021 being a huge year for the Hyundai N brand, I’m also really looking forward to the opportunity to see the all new 2022 Hyundai KONA N that will be on display for our FANS to see. The KONA N, like all N brand vehicles, will have serious track cred. so it is only fitting that its first major public appearance is at a race track! Between the two races, there have been talks about hikes and touring the local region. It will be fun to spend time with the team and gear up for what’s a busy few months ahead!”
#98 Hyundai Elantra N TCR
Drivers: Parker Chase and Ryan Norman
Best Start: 2nd Best Finish: 1st Rank: 4th
- Ryan Norman is the defending TCR Champion.
- Ryan and Parker scored BHA and Hyundai’s first win of 2021 at Mid-Ohio. It was Parker’s first TCR victory after four podium finishes in 2021.
- The Elantra N TCR made its world debut with BHA at Daytona. It scored its first North American win just three races later at Mid-Ohio.
Ryan Norman: “I can’t wait to get back to racing and continue the momentum we found with our win at Mid-Ohio. It was awesome to get the first win of the year for BHA and our incredible partners at Hyundai Motor America. I absolutely love Watkins Glen and am looking forward to seeing what our #98 Elantra N TCR car can do there. I’m also really looking forward to another endurance race, they are so much fun.”
Parker Chase: “Last time out, we brought it home on the top step for the first time for the Elantra N in North America, and it was also my first win in TCR. The Elantra will be really good through the bus stop as this car is extremely smooth over high speed curbs. In just a matter of three races we have made tremendous gains as a team with this new car and I believe there is still more to be made. Let’s go get another win.”
#77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR
Drivers: Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis
Best Start: 9th Best Finish: 2nd Rank: 1st
- Hagler and Lewis hold a 40 point championship lead.
- Mark Wilkins finished second, en-route to the 2019 IMPC Championship (co-driving with Michael Lewis) the last time IMSA raced at The Glen.
Taylor Hagler: “We have put together a solid run through the first three races in the Michelin Pilot Challenge season. It is my first time to lead a championship, so I am really leaning on Michael’s experience to shape our races. Our focus is to keep executing and be calculated in the risks that we take to make sure we are there at the end of the race.”
Michael Lewis: “Watkins Glen is a super fun track and our Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N was really fast the last time we raced there. Taylor and I will keep working hard to execute well during the race to put us in contention to be on the podium. That’s what we have been doing and that’s all we can do. It’s a long race around this super speedway style of a race track, and we must survive and protect the car to have a shot at the end! Points wise, the championship really starts now. If we keep working hard and keep executing flawless races, we will have a good shot at podiums and hopefully something more at the end of the year. Just keep your head down and keep digging. Don’t stop! Additionally, our on track performance has been a result of testing before each event. The more practice we get seems to translate well during the race weekends!”
#54 Universal Coating Hyundai Veloster N TCR
Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson
Best Start: 12th Best Finish: 3rd Rank: 5th
- Johnson and Simpson were the top finishing Hyundai’s at the last 4 hour race, the season opener at Daytona. It was also Hyundai’s first podium ever at that venue.
Michael Johnson: “I’m very excited to be back racing this weekend at Watkins Glen! The entire Bryan Herta Autosport crew have been working extremely hard in the downtime we have had. This track is fast and technical which leads to fantastic racing especially in this 4 hour race. So, I’m feeling really good teaming up with Stephen Simpson. Let’s go win this!”
Stephen Simpson: “We had a good test at WGI 3 weeks ago and were able to get well prepared for the 4hr. It will be great getting back to WGI after the race was rescheduled last year due to COVID. I have had some great success at the track in the past, especially winning the Sahlen’s 6hr overall in 2018. Michael and I have also been on the podium in TCR in the past as well. I am determined to get us back on the podium and the top step is the goal!”
Hyundai Factory Driver – Mason Filippi
#51 Veloster N TCR – Copeland Motorsports
Best Start: 8th Best Finish: 5th Rank: 7th
- Entering his third season driving the Hyundai Veloster N TCR car, Mason Filippi is driving with Copeland Motorsports in 2021, representing Hyundai and co-driving with Olympian AJ Muss.
Mason Filippi: “It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a Veloster N TCR! I’ve been bouncing around in the kart getting ready for Watkins, which is one of my favorite tracks. After our Hyundai Drivers camp my teammates and I are looking forward putting all of the knowledge to use! Something about the flow of Watkins is truly a blast. Excited for the back to back races and a few hikes in between.”