It’s been a whirlwind for all of us here at Bryan Herta Autosport since I last had the time to write, extremely busy, but a good type of busy.
On the IndyCar side, I was able to enjoy one of the most satisfying race weekends of my career in St. Petersburg as our #26 Andretti Autosport Dallara with my son Colton driving took pole and the race win. I don’t take days like that for granted anymore, and it was a truly special one on a personal and professional level. After a difficult weekend in Texas that saw us exit the race early, I hopped on a flight to Columbus for test session with all four of our BHA cars at Mid-Ohio.
But this was no normal test session. This one was special, as we were able to help Robert Wickens get back behind the wheel of a race car for the first time since his devastating accident at Pocono in 2018. I’ve been inspired by Robert’s resilience in the past three years since his accident, and have been impressed with him as a driver ever since his DTM days.
The planets started to align, when Michael Johnson came to race with us this year, and one of our Veloster N TCRs was fitted with a full hand control system. That sparked the idea that maybe this may be something that Robert may want to give a try. After getting a resounding yes from Michael and his Universal Coatings partner to the concept, and full support from our partners at Hyundai, I asked Robert if he may be interested and the wheels were in motion.
It was extremely satisfying to not only see Robert back on track, but also to see how quickly he was able to adapt and get up to speed. Naturally, he dove in headfirst analyzing data and provided us valuable feedback as to how we may be able to help add a few tenths here and there to the Veloster.
Two weeks later, it was back to Mid-Ohio for the third round of the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series. We were very hopeful that some of the changes and tweaks we were working on would convert into a good result at one of our favorite tracks. It was a busy race, and one that saw not only our BHA Hyundai’s competing at the front, but some of our sister Hyundai Veloster N TCR competitors from the Copeland Motorsports and Van der Steur Racing chasing the victory too.
In the end, our #98 Hyundai Elantra N TCR driven by Parker Chase and Ryan Norman brought home the first North American victory for the new Elantra N TCR. Additionally, the #77 Veloster N TCR with Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis extended their points lead finishing close behind in second. It’s always a big deal, and a huge relief in all honesty, to bring home that first victory with a new car and helps to bring an attitude of confidence to the entire organization.
Meanwhile, in Indianapolis our Andretti Autosport squad prepared a tremendously quick race car that saw us sitting in the middle of the front row of the Indianapolis 500, and had us in contention for most of the day before we got caught out on some pit strategy. I was disappointed for all of the team knowing how hard they worked for the entire month. Our Speedway, Indiana based IMSA team even got in on the festivities during the 500 race weekend, and set-up an activation display on Main Street where we were able to show off the Elantra N TCR cars to the open wheel fans. Ryan Norman, the reigning TCR Champion was on-site, and our new friends at the All-American Soap Box Derby set up a STEM related activity that allowed the kids to engage hands-on in building their own cars.
Now it’s off to Detroit for a doubleheader weekend in IndyCar while we also prepare for the Watkins Glen IMSA weekend(s) in our Hyundai’s.
Until next time,