GRANTSVILLE, Utah (August 10, 2018) – A racing driver always wants their race car to roll off the trailer and feel good in the first practice runs. That was the case Friday for Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins in TCR action in the Pirelli World Challenge opening day at the Utah Motorsports Campus.
Both of the Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai i30 N TCR racers had a good feeling at the 3.048-mile, 14-turn road course southwest of Salt Lake City after the first few laps in the Friday morning practice round.
“You are always a little nervous going into the first practice session at any track,” said Lewis, the California driver in the No. 98 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR car. “You are not really sure what you have to work with in the initial track surface. But I think Mark and I both could tell pretty quickly that our Hyundai i30 N machines were good. We have to thank our engineer John Ward for setting up strong cars this morning. The crew has worked hard to get the cars prepared since last month at Portland.”
Lewis, currently second in the TCR point standings, turned in an impressive lap of one minute, 59.352 seconds for a speed of 91.93 miles per hour in the TCR class debut at the fast Utah racing plant. That quick lap time gave Lewis the No. 1 position for Friday practice, as qualifying and the Round 9 40-minute sprint race is scheduled for Saturday.
Wilkins, the three-time 2018 race winner in the No. 99 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR machine, recorded the second quickest TCR lap of the day Friday with a 1:59.413 for a 91.88 m.p.h., just a tick behind his teammate. The veteran Canadian driver is no stranger to the Utah circuit, having scored Pirelli World Challenge feature win in GTS (2015) and GT SprintX (2017).
“Both Michael and I have won races here in the past and our experience helps coming into the PWC weekend,” said Wilkins. “We have worked together all year with the crew and John (Ward) on the proper setups at the various tracks. We felt we had a good start for the morning practice and the results proved that out. In the afternoon, the heat was really up, right at a 100 degrees. So, we learned how the track surface can change. It helped us get ready for Saturday and Sunday’s races.”
In the Friday runs, Lewis and Wilkins were second and third, respectively, in the TCR practice, trailing only young Mason Filippi.
The equally-prepared Hyundai i30 N TCR cars will now be prepped for Saturday’s qualifying at 9:45 am. MDT as well as Round 9 40-minute sprint race (a rolling start) will begin at 2:30 p.m. MDT.
Sunday’s Round 10 event (a standing start) will start at 1:00 p.m. MDT.
All TCR races at Utah Motorsports Campus will have live streaming on www.world-challenge.com and the World Challenge channel on YouTube.