The Advent Health 120
The defending IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) Champions, Bryan Herta Autosport dominated their return to IMSA action Friday, winning the Advent Health 120 with the #21 Hyundai Veloster N TCR.
The BHA cars opened the event on top, and remained there throughout. Taking the green flag from the front row, Harry Gottsacker (#21) had a great start and dueled polesitter Ryan Norman (#33) Veloster for the lead in the opening laps.
Fifteen minutes into the two-hour race, lightning electrified the dark skies of Sebring, bringing out the red flags and pausing competition. Drivers were forced to patiently wait out the conditions from the pit lane. After 174 days on pause, another hour just intensified their pursuit for victory.
With an hour to go, the race re-started, and pit stops commenced shortly after. Mark Wilkins took the reins of the #21 Hyundai and although challenging, intermittent conditions continued, Wilkins was unstoppable. New co-drivers for 2020, Wilkins and Gottsacker earned the team’s first win of the season. Mason Filippi and Michael Lewis raced to second in the #98, securing the team’s first 1-2 finish in IMSA. BHA Customer Support Team, Forty7 Motorsports finished third in the #47 Hyundai Veloster N TCR, making it an all Hyundai podium for the first time in IMSA history.
Ryan Norman and Gabby Chaves made their second IMPC start in the #33 Hyundai Veloster N TCR at Sebring. Like their debut at Daytona, they set the pace. The duo topped the charts in every session, and Norman earned his first IMSA pole position. They looked to have a comfortable race lead before their first pit stop when they lost over a minute in the pits due to a jammed seatbelt. Chaves took the wheel and quickly set the fastest race lap, and then beat his time lap after lap, the #33 Hyundai Veloster TCR finished 7th.
BHA welcomed Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman to the team in early July. Co-driving the #29 Vertical Bridge Hyundai Veloster N TCR, the duo quickly acquainted themselves with the Veloster and IMPC competition. They opened the event strong, and started fifth based on Brockman’s impressive qualifying effort. Brockman passed for fourth and ran comfortably inside the top five before contact with a GS competitor pushed him off track. He was able to resume but the right rear tire was damaged. Out of contention, Parker took over driving duties for the second half and was able to use the track time to familiarize and test the car to prepare for the next event.
Road America is the site of Round 3 of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Located in Elkhart Lake, WI the event takes place July 31st – August 2nd.
Race Winners: #21 Hyundai Veloster N TCR
Drivers: Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins
Qualified: 2nd (Gottsacker) Finished: 1st
- First victory for Wilkins and Gottsacker as co-drivers.
Harry Gottsacker: “It feels awesome to get my second win in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and my first with Mark as my teammate. I’m looking forward to getting more trophies with him this season! The BHA team had a really good car for us at Sebring, which is a tough, bumpy track to set up for. I knew if I got a good start and managed the traffic, we would be in the hunt. The weather threw a few curveballs, but it couldn’t stop the Hyundai’s!”
Mark Wilkins: “Hyundai 1-2-3, what a great way to kick off the season, and perfect result to build on the manufacturers championship for Hyundai. Harry did a fantastic job on the starts and held a healthy margin up front. Our Veloster N TCR was on rails and I can’t thank the team enough, especially with all of the new faces since our expansion and their incredible efforts.”
2nd: #98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR
Drivers: Mason Filippi and Michael Lewis
Qualified: 3rd (Filippi) Finished: 2nd
- First podium finish for Mason Filippi and Michael Lewis as co-drivers.
Mason Filippi: “It felt great to be back with my team, they are my extended family, it’s a great, dedicated group at BHA. Today we had an amazing race with the Hyundai Veloster N TCR car. Bryan Herta Autosport was on point all week and I couldn’t have asked for better equipment. Michael killed it in the car for the final stint and the engineers were perfect on their strategy calls. I can’t wait for Road America.”
Michael Lewis: “Today was a really special day for Hyundai sweeping the podium for the first time and I am proud to be a part of that. Congratulations to my teammates Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker on the team’s first win of the season! Our 98 car was solid all day and Mason drove a great first stint in damp conditions to get us close to the front. After the driver change, I ran behind Mark (Wilkins) and tried to catch him, but he was just a bit better and held a gap until the end. It was cool to get the team’s first 1-2 race finish in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.”
7th: #33 Hyundai Veloster N TCR
Drivers: Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman
Qualified: 1st Finished: 7th
- The #33 car led both practice sessions and scored the pole position.
- This was Ryan Norman’s first IMSA pole, in just his second race.
- Gabby Chaves set the fastest lap of the race at 02:15.029, six tenths faster than the nearest competitor.
Gabby Chaves: “Our BHA Hyundai Veloster N was beyond fast this weekend. We dominated every pace in every session and should have battled it out for the win with our teammates, but unfortunately, we had an issue with our belts in the pit stop and lost a huge amount of time. We are hungrier than ever going into Road America and I can’t thank BHA and Hyundai enough for the amazing car and work all weekend.”
Ryan Norman: “I couldn’t have asked for a better car, our Hyundai Veloster N TCR was perfect in changing conditions. We had a great race going with a huge gap in the lead and sadly, our lap belt jammed and was stuck during the driver change, which led to an extra 1.5 minutes in the pits. We are going to use this as motivation to come out of the gates even stronger in a couple weeks at Road America and get the win we know we deserve. It was great weekend overall for Hyundai and I was pleased to get my first pole position in IMSA competition.”
13th: #29 Vertical Bridge Hyundai Veloster N TCR
Drivers: Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman
Qualified: 5th Finished: 11th
- Sebring was Spencer Brockman’s IMSA debut and the first IMPC race for Parker Chase.
Parker Chase: “All in all we had a good weekend in the Vertical Bridge Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Spencer did a great job qualifying and during the first stint before getting hit by a GS car. That incident really impacted our result and took a podium out of our reach. I’m happy with our pace and I looking forward to Road America.”
Spencer Brockman: “We had a great start to the race; I was able to put myself in a solid position running 4th. Unfortunately, I was hit by a GS car in turn 7. The damage and pit stop put us behind. I handed the car to Parker and he was able to make up a few spots before the next round of weather. It was a difficult end to a promising start, but I can’t thank BHA enough for getting me up to speed in such a short amount of time. The Hyundai’s are quick, and I can’t wait to get back in my Veloster N TCR at Road America. Congratulations to BHA on their 1-2 and to Hyundai on their achievements at Sebring.”
Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian:
Founded in 2009, Bryan Herta Autosport has grown from a single car Indy-Lights team into a championship winning auto racing franchise. Led by IndyCar and Sports Car star Bryan Herta, Bryan Herta Autosport has won races in every discipline they have entered, including Indy Lights, Indy Car, Global Rally Cross, and championship titles in Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA. BHA rose to prominence after winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500 in what was the final race of the Centennial Era, a celebration of 100 years of racing at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with driver Dan Wheldon. Five years later, BHA partnered with Andretti Autosport, and defied the odds again, winning their second Indianapolis 500 with rookie driver Alexander Rossi. In 2018, BHA entered the Pirelli World Challenge in partnership with Hyundai and dominated the TCR class, winning seven races with drivers #98 Michael Lewis and #99 Mark Wilkins in the Hyundai i30N TCR, securing the team and manufacturers championships in the process. In 2019, BHA and Hyundai moved to the IMSA Michelin Sports Car Challenge, and the transition was flawless. BHA swept the series driver and team championships with driver Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis finishing first in the #98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR and young guns Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi finishing second in the #21 Hyundai Veloster N TCR. For 2020, BHA continues its successful partnership with Andretti Autosport fielding the #98 U.S. Concrete Honda w/ Curb Agajanian in the IndyCar series for driver Marco Andretti and a four-car Hyundai Veloster N TCR campaign in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Michael Lewis and Mason Fillipi (#98), Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker (#21), Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman (#33) and Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman (#29). Bryan Herta Autosport is the U.S. sales agent and parts support representative of Hyundai TCR race cars for customer teams. For more information, visit www.BryanHertaAutosport.com.
Hyundai Motor America
At Hyundai Motor America, we believe everyone deserves better. From the way we design and build our cars to the way we treat the people who drive them, making things better is at the heart of everything we do. Hyundai’s technology-rich product lineup of cars, SUVs and alternative-powered electric and fuel cell vehicles is backed by Hyundai Assurance—our promise to create a better experience for customers. Hyundai vehicles are sold and serviced through more than 820 dealerships nationwide and nearly half of those sold in the U.S. are built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Hyundai Motor America is headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, and is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea.
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Hyundai Returns to IMSA Action with Formidable, Four Car Line-Up
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of STM Daily News, a part of the TNC Network.