Bryan’s Blog – A Look Back at 2022

Bryan’s Blog – End of Season 2022
It’s been a while since I’ve checked in here, and now that all of my respective racing seasons are complete, I’ve had the chance to crack open the laptop and catch up on things like this. Once the racing season kicks into high gear during the summer months, I basically feel like I’m living on a treadmill set on maximum speed. There is a lot I need to update you on, so I’ll just get to it.
Championship Sweep
Our BHA Hyundai team was able to enjoy some special moments this summer. In June, Mark Wilkins and Robert Wickens drove to victory at Watkins Glen. While this in itself is reason to celebrate, the moment was much more meaningful than just another checkered flag. This was Robert’s first trip to Victory Lane since his life-changing accident at Pocono in 2018. We started out the season with Robert and Mark on the podium in Daytona, so I think our whole team knew the potential was there to bring home a win, but until you get that first victory, you’re never quite sure how it’s going to play out. We’ve been honored to be a part of Robert’s journey, and this was a huge highlight.
There wasn’t much time to celebrate though, we had back-to-back race weekends and our team headed north of the border to go racing at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, which was always one of my favorites as a driver. There was a lot of built up anticipation for Robert and his fans, as it was his first time racing back in Canada since his injury.
After busy week of media commitments promoting the race, on Thursday, Robert got the call from his wife Karli that their baby boy was coming two weeks early, and he needed to get home to Indianapolis ‘Now.’ The entire team was thrilled for Robert to be able to get home and enjoy this moment with his family and the arrival of his baby boy, Wesley.
Quick logistical thinking, a can-do attitude from Robert, and some great flexibility from Karli, made us realize that he may just be able to race on Saturday if we could line up all the pieces to get him back up north of the border. That’s exactly what we did, Robert flew from Indianapolis back to Ontario on Saturday morning, he took the green flag from the back of the field with zero practice time, and began passing cars at the first corner. He handed off to fellow Canadian Mark Wilkins who just kept on passing cars and they brought home the win for the second weekend in a row. It was a huge win for Mark and Robert and their Canadian fans, and a storybook day for BHA and Hyundai with a podium sweep. It was a whirlwind to be sure and you will be able to see a lot of the behind the scenes action in our upcoming episode of Next Level, keep an eye on our website for this.
Meanwhile, our #1 car driven by Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis was once again performing with consistency and speed that has been the gold standard in the class, I’d go so far as to say in the style that Scott Dixon has used to bring so many championships home in the NTT IndyCar Series. Taylor and Michael delivered their first win of the season at VIR and headed into the season finale in the points lead.
After an intense race that saw our #54 car of Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson fighting for the win to the last corner, and the #1 car of Taylor and Michael right behind in third we were able to breathe a sigh of relief and realize a championship sweep bringing home the Manufacturer, Team, and Driver championships alongside our partners at Hyundai. It’s emotional and gratifying for me to be able to see this team with such diverse talents and personalities come together in the face of adversity year-after-year to bring home these results, and we are honored with the faith and trust Hyundai has put behind us to lead their efforts in North American motorsport.
IndyCar Intensity
Over on the open-wheel side of my life, the summer threw more curveballs at our Gainbridge-Honda IndyCar effort than I ever could have expected. The competition is as intense as I’ve ever seen in my time in the sport, and the margin for error is razor thin every weekend.
We had races where Colton had speed in both qualifying and on race day and we were able to string together some great runs but couldn’t quite put it all together all season long. A terrific win in mixed conditions at the Indy GP was a real highlight, but overall I think we are fell a little disappointed and are entering the off season more motivated than ever to fight for the NTT IndyCar Series Championship. Later in the season there was a lot of media speculation and some real buzz around Colton moving to Formula 1, possibly with Alpha Tauri. He ultimately decided to remain with Gainbridge and Andretti for the foreseeable future, a dream scenario for him as a driver with a team he knows well, and an incredibly supportive and competitive sponsor in Gainbridge that will give the team and Colton all the tools they need to take the fight to the other top teams and drivers in the series. There has been a lot of talk also about super license points and despite a major push from Dr. Marko at Red Bull Racing, it remains clear that if Colton is to realize his F1 dream in the future it will require a couple of outstanding seasons in IndyCar to earn the requisite points.
Trans-Pacific Travel
In August I had a rare off-weekend from both my IMSA and IndyCar duties so what did I decide to do? Head to a motor race of course! But this trip was something special, my business partner Sean Jones and I flew to Seoul, South Korea. It was the first time I had the chance to visit the country, and the modern infrastructure, incredible culture, and amazing people that the city has to offer. We were able to visit our partners at Hyundai Motor Corporation face-to-face at their corporate headquarters which was great to further discuss their long-term motorsports vision.
Then during the weekend, we attended the Formula E race to check in on the partnership with Avalanche and the Avalanche Andretti FE team. The urban atmosphere and high-end hospitality experience that Formula E offers is first-rate and being able to learn about some of the unique technology and strategies used in electrified racing is intriguing for someone like me that spends so much time on top of the pit box calling strategies across different types of racing. It won’t be my last trip to South Korea, and I know I will be at several Formula E races next year as well in support of Avalanche.
What Offseason?
Some people ask me if I get the chance to relax a little bit in the offseason. I just chuckle, because while the time on the road may not be as intense in the winter months, the time in the office on the business side really kicks into high gear, as so many agreements needing to be finalized heading into the next year, as well as plans regarding vehicle and parts purchases, testing plans, marketing plans, and personnel lineups.
I did get to enjoy a day at the Los Angeles Auto Show Press Day with Hyundai this past week and saw the unveiling of the IONIQ 6. Several of our drivers will be making appearances over the two-week event there, and it made me proud to see our race car displayed prominently in the entrance lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center where hundreds of thousands of guests to see over the course of the event.
Of course, I’ll enjoy our family holidays, but after that, it won’t be long before we are all off to Daytona for the Roar test and then the opening round of the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Until then – Happy Holidays,
Bryan Herta
Bryan Herta at Hyundai’s N Brand display featuring the #33 Elantra N TCR at the entrance of the Los Angeles Auto Show, November 17, 2022.
Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 was launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 17, 2022.
Mark Wilkins and Robert Wickens, drivers of the #33 Elantra N TCR celebrate their victory at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park 120 on July 2, 2022.
BHA’s #1 Elantra TCR team and drivers Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler celebrate their second consecutive title with Bryan Herta at the Fox Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on October 1, 2022.
Colton Herta, and his father and Race Strategist, Bryan Herta at the Indy GP, May 29, 2022.
Colton Herta and the #26 Gainbridge Honda lead the pack at the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America on June 12, 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *