After a stellar 2019 season where we captured both the team and drivers championships, the Bryan Herta Autosport/Hyundai effort has been flat out and we’ve already started our 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge campaign.
Since our season finale this past October, a lot has changed. For one, Bryan Herta Autosport has added a third Hyundai Veloster N TCR and a couple of new drivers to the program. Bryan has also changed up last season’s pairings! Michael Lewis, who I won the 2019 drivers championship with, will be driving alongside Mason Filippi and I’ll be sharing driving duties with Harry Gottsacker in the #21. The addition of a third car driven by Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman adds depth to our roster and enhances the team synergy we developed last season! A private team has acquired two Veloster N TCR’s, so we have a total of five Hyundai’s competing in the championship this season!
Although last season was highly successful, we left one box unchecked and we have one mandate for 2020… win the manufacturers championship for Hyundai! Recently, we started our 2020 season at Daytona International Speedway. Right out of the gate all three of the BHA Veloster N TCRs were on pace with my co-driver Harry qualifying in the second position. This first round of the championship was four hours and for the most part, tests a car’s ability to go fast in a straight line. Perhaps the most challenging track on the calendar for us we netted a P4/5/6 finish which all in all was a great way to start the season.
Consistent performance throughout the ten-round championship is key to success and we are looking forward to going for a 1/2/3 at Sebring International Raceway in mid-March. Sebring is one of the iconic, old school race circuits, known for its “bumpy” nature and highly technical layout; all of the things our Hyundai Veloster N TCR enjoys. From there, Michael, Mason, Harry and I will head to Germany to start our schooling and preparation for the Nurburgring 24!
I look forward to providing updates from south of the border and overseas! Our lone Canadian race is July 4/20 at Mosport.
Until then, race fans, “spring is just around the corner!”
Report by Mark Wilkins
2020 Daytona 500
No doubt you probably saw Ryan Newman’s last lap terrifying crash. What scared me was the fuel POURING out of the upside-down rear end of the car once the car came to a stop. The cars do have fuel cells and I’d guess braided, aircraft-type fuel lines. Luckily, the safety crews quickly reached Newman’s upside-down race car. They extinguished the fire rapidly. Maybe it’s time to slow all race vehicles down? I never thought I’d say that. Yes, racing is safer than ever. Yet the human body isn’t built to withstand the huge g-forces associated with high speeds.
The next day I received an email from my friend who is an American, retired professional racer. He said the roll cage failed, too. If so, I ask, how did the car pass tech inspection?
Newman had serious but not life-threatening injuries. He was released from nearby Halifax Medical Center only a few days later. However, the last report has him sustaining head injuries. Hopefully, he’ll fully recover soon. In the old days, he’d likely die.
Our sport recently lost racer John Andretti (Mario’s nephew) to cancer. Sadly, he was only 57 when cancer took him. John raced USAC midgets, CART/Indycars, and NHRA Top Fuel dragsters.
We also lost Bill Simpson (79). He was a drag racer turned USAC/Indycar racer. He was a pioneer for racing safety equipment, made by his companies: Simpson Safety Equipment, and later Impact Safety Equipment.
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Written by Larry Barnett