Hyundai’s Head South to Tackle VIR and Defend IMPC Championship Lead

VIRginia International Raceway, Alton, VA

3.27-mile road course, features 17 turns

Race: Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 2:05 pm ET (2 Hours)

TV: LIVE on IMSA.TV, IMSA Radio. NBC Sports Network Friday, August 30th, 2019 at 10 pm ET

Live updates are available throughout the weekend on social media and www.bryanhertaautosport.com

FAST FACTS:

Hyundai 3-Peat: The Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai’s have won the last two IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races.  Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis won at Lime Rock Park last month and Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi scored their first victory earlier this month at Road America. Will they make it three-in-a-row for Hyundai this weekend at VIR?

Rookie Race Winners: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Rookies, Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi scored their first victory at Road America. As we head into the final three rounds of the 2019 IMPC championship, the Bryan Herta Autosport Team is focused on maintaining their championship lead.  So far this season, they’ve scored three victories, two for the #98 squad (Mid-Ohio and Lime Rock Park) and one for the #21 team at Road America. 

Chasing Each Other:  The #98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR driven by Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis leads the IMPC Championship with a total of 190 points, six points over the second place #37 Honda Civic, driven by Shelby Blackstock and Tom O’Gorman.  BHA teammates Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi catapulted from sixth to third with their recent victory at Road America.  The #21 Hyundai Veloster sits just three points out of second and nine points out of the lead.

Just Released: Episode 4: Pole Position: Next Level chronicles Bryan Herta Autosport’s 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season with an exciting behind the scenes look at team and drivers.  The fourth episode, titled “Michael and Mark” was released this week.  Bryan Herta Autosport’s success can be attributed to the synergy that is experienced between the entire team: drivers, crew and management. Find out how veteran drivers Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis lead the charge on episode 4 of Pole Position: Next Level. https://bryanhertaautosport.com/pole-position-next-level

QUOTES:

#98 Mark Wilkins: “It has been a great season thus far and with three races to go we certainly don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we should be right up front and fighting for the win! VIR will be hot and humid and we’re likely to see some rain; much like we’ve experienced at most races to date. Our Veloster N TCR is well suited to the technical nature of the circuit and after strong runs at VIR last season I know the car will be great right off the trailer. After Mason and Harry’s big win at Road America, the Veloster N TCR has secured three wins so far this season. Moving forward, it’s all about maximizing points. The car has been working so well for us; it inspires confidence which is hugely important in the uphill Esses at VIR. It should be a great weekend!”

Highlight of the Season so far: “We’ve had a number of great races this season! For me the highlight was the first win at Mid-Ohio…Michael drove the wheels off the car in some very tough conditions. It was a nail biter finish and one I’ll remember for a long time as it was the first Veloster N TCR win in IMSA competition.” Best personal performance this year: “As far as best personal performance of the year so far, I’d say Lime Rock Park. It was a physically demanding race in the heat, threading the needle through GS traffic and with plenty of TCR pressure from behind. It’s always a tough event but we came away with the team’s first double podium of the season!”

#98 Michael Lewis: “We get to go racing at Virginia International Raceway this weekend, and as a driver, I enjoy racing there. It is a difficult track, tough to be ‘good’ there, and for that reason, I like it. Every time I race at VIR, it is a challenge to be perfect, especially with tricky corners like the T4 through T6 complex and the Hog Pen section at the end. Oak tree is tricky as well! Because of some unique sections that make the track challenging, I really enjoy racing here and I really enjoy the challenge of mastering the tricky sections. Mark, myself, and our Bryan Herta Autosport team will do our best to be at the front of the field in our Hyundai Veloster N TCR. I really love racing the Veloster N TCR as it handles so well in the turns and because it has been prepared so well by our team. I am proud of the effort and hard work put forth by our team to prepare and tune our race cars for each weekend. Having confidence in the race car from the first session, knowing that our car has been inspected and prepared well at the shop, is something that I really enjoy and respect. Knowing that our Veloster N is ready to go in terms of set up and function in the first session is a great feeling. It allows Mark and I to focus on developing the car and to attack the course! Thank you to the team for their hard work to prepare the cars and for the fast pit stops on pit lane! If you are attending the race this weekend, please visit our Bryan Herta Autosport tent to view our Hyundai Veloster N TCR race cars and visit us on pit lane before the race for the pre-race ceremonies!” 

#21 Harry Gottsacker: “VIR is one of the most scenic tracks we go to and it’s a real iconic American road course.  VIR was one of the first road course tracks I learned on when I started in sports cars. My last visit to VIR was a rough one, but I’m looking forward to continuing our championship fight in the Veloster N TCR.  We are coming off our first win at Road America and have a lot of momentum.  The car keeps getting better every weekend that we are at the track and I’m looking forward to being back with the BHA guys this weekend.”  Highlight of the season so far: “The best moment of the season has been the win at Road America.  It was in front of a bunch of my family and friends and was super special to me.  We have also had strong runs at Watkins Glen and Lime Rock which I’m also proud of.”

#21 Mason Filippi: “I am super excited to take the #21 Hyundai Veloster N TCR around VIR! I love the uphill Esses and the Veloster will be very strong there. It is a fun track and the fans are great. I know Bryan Herta Autosport is going to do an amazing job, we’ve had a great season so far, and coming off our recent victory at Road America is especially inspiring.  It has been very cool developing my own driving and learning from such great teammates and team every weekend we are at the track; it is a great influence on my driving and overall track knowledge.” Highlight of the season so far: “My favorite moment in the car this season was the start at Mid-Ohio. It was a wild start and we took many positions not only in our class but in the GS class as well.” Best personal performance this year: “I can’t pin-point for myself what my best personal performance this season has been, but as a driver being on a great team, I have been able to grow and develop confidence every weekend starting at Daytona. One area of my driving I have always struggled with before this season was qualifying. This year Mark and Michael have both given me tips and calmed me down before going out to qualify, and I’ve seen a big improvement in my qualifying this year! I am very thankful for the opportunity to be with a great team this season!”

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