The last two months have really been a whirlwind here, and it is just now as I sit here writing this that I realize how many special things we have been able to experience in a short time frame as we wrapped up the 2019 season.
In September we had back-to-back weekends at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The first weekend, we were racing with our Hyundai Veloster N TCRs in the penultimate round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. After a strong qualifying session saw us sweep the first two starting positions in the TCR category, we brought home the runner-up spot on the podium which kept us in a strong position heading into the season finale at Road Atlanta.
We returned to Laguna Seca the following weekend with our #98 U.S. Concrete machine in the IndyCar Series. While things on our IndyCar did not go as well as we would have wanted, it was extremely gratifying to see my son Colton score his third pole position and take home his second career IndyCar victory this year.
When October hit, all our focus was on bringing home the TCR Championship in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series. Heading into Road Atlanta we had a tight battle at the top of the point standings, and any error would be extremely costly. After an intense two-hour race, our #98 Veloster N TCR with drivers Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins brought home the race victory and driver’s championship, while our #21 car driven by Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker took home fourth in the race and second in the driver’s championship. Additionally, our Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai team won the team championship, and we only missed delivering the Manufacturer’s Championship by one point. A fantastic season by any measure and I’m extremely proud of the hard work the entire team put in this season.
The next weekend I was back at a racetrack, in Las Vegas, for the SRO America finale where we debuted our new Veloster Turbo R-spec TCA car in the hands of young Florida hot-shoe Tyler Gonzalez. The TCA car build was really a step into the unknown for us as a race team, but the payoff has been the chance to serve a different sector of racers than we previously have, and expand the footprint for the Hyundai brand across a wider spectrum of racing categories and entry points. We already have several on order and look forward to developing a loyal community of Hyundai racers in 2020.
We were very honored as well to be invited by our partners at Hyundai to be introduced at their all associates meeting at HMA headquarters in Fountain Valley on November 7. It was extremely special to see the pride and recognition that everyone at Hyundai gives to our program, and we feel gratified to deliver a championship for them.
As usual in motorsports, there may be an offseason but there is no downtime. As I write this I am on a plane to Frankfurt where the drivers and I will celebrate our IMSA season with our friends at Hyundai Motorsports who have built and developed our winning Veloster N TCR cars.
After that, we are heads down working to see how we can make our team better and faster in 2020, as well as putting plans together that will see more Hyundai’s racing in more places than ever before. There are a ton of exciting things happening for next season and I can’t wait to share all the exciting news in the coming weeks.
Until then, have a fantastic holiday season and see you at a racetrack soon!