2019 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge
Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 at The Glen
#21 Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi
#98 Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis
June 27-29, 2019
Racetrack: Watkins Glen International Raceway
3.4-mile road course, features 11 turns
Race: Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 1:45pm ET (4 Hours)
TV: LIVE on IMSA.TV, IMSA Radio and Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 6pm on NBC Sports Network
Live updates are available throughout the weekend on social media and www.bryanhertaautosport.com
3rd Time’s the Charm: In just their third race of the season, Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis scored Hyundai’s first victory in IMSA competition. Michael Lewis took the checkered flag last month at Mid-Ohio after a wild race and intense battle for the victory over the Audi RS3 LMS driven by Remo Ruscitti.
Oh, So Close: The #98 car secured Hyundai’s first win in IMSA competition, but the #21 car, with the series youngest driver pairing of Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker may be knocking on victory’s door. Filippi and Gottsacker were in position to take the victory at Mid-Ohio. Filippi had an incredible start at the last round of IMSA Michelin Pilot Competition at Mid-Ohio when he passed six cars on the start and teammate Harry Gottsacker passed for the lead in the closing laps. Ultimately a fuel pump issue spoiled their chance for the victory.
Tech for a Day: The service team at Hyundai Motor America’s headquarters uses the “Tech for a Day” program as part of their motorsports program activation. Last year at this event Scott Mattison, a certified master mechanic from Simmons Rockwell Hyundai joined the team for the “Tech for a Day” program. He did such a good job, Bryan Herta Autosport hired him and this year he returns as a mechanic and fueler during pitstops on the #21 Hyundai Veloster. “This is a dream come true, every professional mechanic dreams of working on a race team” commented Mattison. “This is real racing, these are factory production cars…and apart from some bodywork and suspension, this is the same car I work on at the dealership every day. That is what I love about this series. The pace is a bit different at the racetrack, but other than that, it’s the same focus…detail, efficiency, safety and speed. I’m so thankful to Hyundai, they are the only manufacturer that really makes this happen and it is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Chasing the Championship: Both Bryan Herta Autosport cars are in the top five in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Championship heading into this weekend’s endurance race at The Glen. The #98 Hyundai Veloster driven by Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis are ranked 2nd, while Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker, the drivers of the #21 Hyundai Veloster are fourth, just four points behind their teammates.
Winning: Mason Filippi recently collected his second victory of the season racing a Hyundai Veloster in the Blancpain GT World Challenge. His most recent victory was in a Veloster N TCR with Copeland Motorsports, prepared and sold through Bryan Herta Autosport.
Veloster Nation: Bryan Herta Autosport welcomes the members of the Veloster Nation and all race fans for autographs and photos at the teams garage on Saturday at 11:30.
Mark Wilkins: "Mid-Ohio was a great breakout weekend for us as a team! Now a distant memory, everyone at Bryan Herta Autosport has been focused on preparing for the busy part of the race season, which starts with The Glen. At Mid-Ohio we were challenged by all types of weather and I feel we really found the sweet spot setup-wise on our Veloster N TCR. I’m confident much of what we learned will carry over to Watkins Glen and we will be up to speed right away.
On perfecting the set-up for The Glen: To be quick at The Glen, amongst other things, you need a car that’s confident and stable in the high speed and good in transition. I think the car will be well suited to the circuit overall but will be especially good in the outer loop and final two corners where we will have the confidence to carry big entry speed. I love the fast flowing and rhythmic nature of the track, but the final two corners are simply awesome! Both are so quick and a challenge to optimize lap after lap. When you get them right, typically you are rewarded with some good gains in lap time! Michael and I are both looking forward to kicking the balance of our season into high gear and making the most of each race weekend points wise. As a final note, we look forward to welcoming Veloster N owners and fans at Watkins Glen and we promise to deliver some great racing action!"
Michael Lewis on his history at The Glen: "Watkins Glen is a cool track because it has many fast turns that all flow really well together. I have raced there on two different occasions, and I enjoyed both of those experiences. The first time I drove on the track was in 2014 in the IMSA GT3 Cup series and the second time I drove on the track was in 2018 in the Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai i30N TCR race car. My best starting position was pole position for Race 2 in 2018 in our BHA Hyundai i30N TCR. My best finish at Watkins Glen was a second-place finish in Race 1 of that same race weekend in 2018." On his favorite section of The Glen: "My favorite section of the track includes the last two turns. Cornering through both of those turns is so fun because they are fast turns and you really feel the speed there. They flow really nicely together and I love forcing the car back from the right side of the track, after you tried to go as fast as possible through that 4th or 5th gear left-handed turn, and then setting up for a corner that is just as quick, in the last right hander. The last corner has the blue wall right to your left and you really get close to it. I like the experience and the challenge that is the last two turns put together. I also really like the corner just after the bus stop. It is such a long duration, fast turn, and I think that is pretty unique."
Harry Gottsacker: “We started the year with a long race in Daytona and it was the first race of the year for the BHA team. We’ve learned a lot of things about our strategy and the strengths of the new Veloster N TCR. I think this puts the team in a good position to capitalize on everything we have learned at Watkins Glen.” On his preparation for endurance races: “As far as my preparation as a driver, I’m spending time on my simulator doing stints that equal what my time in the car could be at Watkins Glen. It is going to be hot, so I’m doing my workouts this month in the Texas heat to get used to it. When we get to race weekend, it’s going to be important to stay ahead of hydration and make sure all of our driver comforts in the car are working.”
Mason Filippi: “I have raced Watkins before, and it is one of my favorite tracks. My favorite section has to be the bus stop, it is so much fun hustling a TCR car through there! Preparing for these hot races is difficult, I like karting, running and biking. I also make sure to hydrate the week before and while traveling. In addition, I’ve been racing on our off weekends, my recent victory at Sonoma with Copeland Motorsports was in a Veloster N TCR prepared by Bryan Herta Autosport. Racing in different series keeps me very sharp during the breaks with IMSA. Every time I get into a racecar I learn, so these experiences are invaluable.”
About Bryan Herta Autosport:
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’ve entered, including Indy Lights, Indy Car, Global Rally Cross, and Pirelli World Challenge. 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 late, BHA partnered with Andretti Autosport, and defied the odds again, winning their second Indianapolis 500 with rookie driver Alexander Rossi. BHA entered the Global Rally Cross Championship in 2015 under the name Bryan Herta Rallysport, scoring multiple podiums and wins. 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. For 2019, BHA continues its’ successful partnership with Andretti Autosport to field the #98 U.S. Concrete Honda w/ Curb Agajanian in the IndyCar series for driver Marco Andretti. Also, in 2019, BHA takes their championship winning Hyundai TCR team to the IMSA Pilot Challenge where they will enter the #98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR for Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins and the #21 for Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi. Just three races into their IMSA debut, BHA won the Mid-Ohio 120 in the #98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR with Wilkins and Lewis. 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 http://www.BryanHertaAutosport.com.
About Hyundai Motor America:
Hyundai Motor America is focused on delivering an outstanding customer experience grounded in design leadership, engineering excellence and exceptional value in every vehicle we sell. 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 deliver peace of mind to our customers. Hyundai vehicles are sold and serviced through more than 830 dealerships nationwide with the majority sold in the U.S. built at U.S. manufacturing facilities, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Hyundai Motor America is headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, and is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea.