● 2019 Bryan Herta Autosport will enter two Hyundai i30 N TCR cars in the upcoming Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8-Hours at Laguna Seca Raceway
● Hyundai i30 N TCR cars have had a very successful inaugural 2018 season under Herta development
● Father-son – Bryan and Colton – to drive together in 8 Hour event
SALINAS, Calif. (Oct. 23, 2018) – The race-winning Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian sports car team has set its sights on continuing a successful 2018 campaign this weekend at the historic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
A superb six-driver, two-car Hyundai i30 N TCR lineup has been assembled by the BHA squad for this Sunday’s (Oct. 28) second annual SRO California 8 Hours sports car event at legendary 2.238-mile, 11-turn road circuit. Sunday’s eight-hour contest, the longest pro race in the track’s history, is the final event in the four-race worldwide Intercontinental GT Challenge and BHA team brings the 2018 Hyundai i30 N TCR machines to battle after seven wins this year.
In the debut of the Hyundai i30 N TCR machines in the Pirelli World Challenge this year, BHA drivers Michael Lewis (four wins) and Mark Wilkins (three wins) led the charge to the Pirelli World Challenge TCR Team points championship as well as Hyundai to the TCR Manufacturers’ points crown.
Now, seeking an eighth 2018 victory this weekend, Lewis, the young Laguna Beach, Calif., racer, and Wilkins, the veteran Canadian driver, will team with another young driving star, college student Mason Filippi of Alamo, Calif., in the No. 99 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR machine Sunday.
Another sensational youngster, Colton Herta of Valencia, Calif., runner-up in the 2018 Indy Lights championship, will join his father, Bryan, a two-time Laguna Seca CART IndyCar race winner, as well as the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GTSA series titleholder George Kurtz in the No. 98 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR entry.
The father-son pairing of Bryan and Colton Herta marks another racing event together after they competed in the 2016 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“This has been an amazing year for us in TCR, and I’m excited to get back behind the wheel alongside all my teammates to try to deliver one more win in 2018 for the Hyundai i30N TCR,” said Bryan Herta, a two-time Indy 500 race-winning team owner. “Colton and I really had a blast the last time we raced together. And to get to work alongside Mark, Michael, George and Mason, this should be a lot of fun. We will get to put the Hyundai i30N through its paces in a new format for us, endurance racing, with pit stops and driver changes.”
Colton, the 18-year-old open-wheel phenom, is set to compete in the 2019 IndyCar Series with Harding Steinbrenner Racing, but the teenager is anxious to drive the Hyundai i30 N TCR car as well as to race with his father again.
“I’m super excited to get my first taste of the Hyundai i30N TCR car this weekend,” said Colton. “I can’t wait to get in the car and drive with my dad!”
As with the Hertas, Kurtz will make his TCR debut in the BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR after a successful run the past two seasons in the GTSA division in the Pirelli World Challenge. The CEO of CrowdStrike is an accomplished road racer who is ready for the new challenge in the TCR machine.
“I’m really looking forward to racing with Bryan and Colton in the California 8 Hours race at Laguna Seca,” said Kurtz. “This will be an exciting experience for me and I feel prepared to take it on. Racing with the Pirelli World Challenge throughout the year has delivered personal achievements for me in the race car and great professional success for CrowdStrike and our sponsors. So, to continue this momentum by hosting our CXO Summit with the IGTC series is a great bookend to this season ― and a fitting segue to the next one.”
The impressive record of Lewis and Wilkins this year included race wins, pole positions and fastest race laps at many of North America’s most prestigious road circuits including Circuit of the Americas (COTA), VIRginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Portland International Raceway and Utah Motorsports Campus.
“Thank you to Bryan Herta and Hyundai for organizing this event for the team and its Hyundai i30N TCR race cars,” said Lewis. “We get to race hard for 8 hours! We get to display what our cars can do over such a long time of driving, and we will work to end up on top as a team. The driver line-up is historic with Bryan and Colton pairing up as father and son. I am humbled to be a part of the equation with Mark, George, and Mason as well. Laguna Seca is a very fan friendly track with many viewing areas, and we hope to race hard and well around the tight, flowing, busy, and short-track styled circuit.”
“I’m excited to switch gears from a sprint mindset to an endurance one,” said Wilkins. “The added complexity of pit stops, driver changes and the heightened multi-class racing format will be great fun and a good challenge. I’m looking forward to driving with Michael and welcoming Mason! We have a great lineup, and so long as we run a clean race, stay out of trouble and execute our stops, we’ll be in good shape!”
Filippi, 20, is like of many on his BHA team, having come through the karting ranks and performed well in the smaller race cars. Now, he looks forward to returning to one of his favorite tracks.
“I am extremely excited to drive the Hyundai i30 N TCR car with Michael and Mark,” said Filippi. “I had to race against those guys this year in the new TCR class and they are very professional and very quick. I was able to drive the VW and the Honda this year. So, I am very anxious to race the Hyundai TCR as well. I am going to learn so much from the drivers and the team. For a young driver like myself, I couldn’t ask for a better situation in the California 8 Hours.”
Testing begins Thursday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with practice set for Friday. Qualifying will take place Saturday and the California 8 Hours gets underway at 9:15 a.m. PDT.