Sebring, FL (March 22, 2021) - Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis finished up front in their #77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR, scoring their first podium of the season. The team took third place in the Alan Jay Automotive 120 at Sebring International Raceway, round 2 of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Hagler joined the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA)/Hyundai squad for her sophomore season after competing against the manufacturer as a rookie in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in 2020. Hagler is Hyundai’s first female driver.
“Bryan Herta Autosport quickly showed they are the team to beat in IMPC, and I figured out quickly that if you can’t beat them, join them,” said Hagler. “The Hyundai cars are fast and consistent. I knew we would be quick. My teammate, Michael Lewis, is a champion through and through. I’ve already learned so much from him. We almost finished on the podium at Daytona and now here we are in our second race on the podium. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings. We’re just getting started!”
Florida’s warm winter weather provided perfect racing conditions for the two-hour race. Hagler started ninth and raced fast, consistent laps inside the top-ten for an hour before turning over the #77 Veloster to teammate Michael Lewis during the single caution period of the race. The BHA crew executed an excellent race strategy and performed a flawless pitstop, sending Lewis back into the race in the 4th position. The lack of caution periods forced Lewis to save fuel while chasing down a podium position.
“It was a tricky one out there today. The crew in the pits did a great job. Taylor raced hard. Her stint was green until the end with no breaks. That’s tough at Sebring and she turned over a perfect car for me to race to the podium.”
Stephen Simpson raced into the top 10 with the #54 Universal Coating Veloster N TCR. He and co-driver Michael Johnson finished 5th, their second consecutive top five finish. Mason Filippi and AJ Muss were 6th in the #51 Copeland Motorsport Veloster N TCR.
The new Elantra N TCR cars ran strong all weekend. BHA debuted the brand-new Hyundai racecar at Daytona, where both cars finished inside the top ten at the four-hour endurance challenge. Another milestone was accomplished this weekend when Ryan Norman qualified the #98 Elantra N TCR inside the top five. Both the #98 of Ryan Norman and Parker Chase and the #33 of Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins showed race winning potential, but fuel mileage proved to be the challenge at Sebring. The #33 Elantra N TCR car finished 8th and the #98 finished 10th.
The 2019 and 2020 IMPC champions are off to a strong start in 2021. Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis left Sebring with a healthy 20-point championship lead. Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson are tied for second, and the Elantras are both ranked inside the top ten.
It was a busy event off-track at Sebring. BHA filmed an upcoming episode of “Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid.” The episode will air on PBS in the coming months. BHA and Hyundai thank the N Club of Florida for their passionate support of Hyundai and the racing program. Club members from as far as Miami joined the Hyundai drivers Thursday evening for a meet and greet. The drivers signed dashboards and engines on more than 30 Hyundai vehicles, mostly Velosters owned by the club members.
The 2021 IMSA schedule features another six-week break before returning to competition at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, May 15th for the Mid-Ohio 120.
Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian:
Founded in 2009, Bryan Herta Autosport has grown from a single car Indy-Lights team into a multi-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 Rallycross, 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 American Sports Car scene beginning its immensely successful partnership with Hyundai. Together, BHA and Hyundai have won three championships in as many seasons, including their dominating performance finishing first, second and third in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, where Hyundai won its first manufacturers title. For 2021, BHA will debut the all-new Hyundai ELANTRA N TCR and continue with the proven Veloster N TCR with a three-car assault in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Also, for 2021, BHA continues its successful partnership with Andretti Autosport fielding the #98 INDYCAR in partnership with Curb Agajanian in the 2021 Indianapolis 500 for driver Marco Andretti. For more information, visit: www.BryanHertaAutosport.com.
BHA/Hyundai Customer Support: Bryan Herta Autosport is the U.S. sales agent and part support representative of Hyundai TCR and TCA race cars for customer teams. The BHA/Hyundai Customer Support Team offers trackside engineering support, setup and tuning advice, and part and order fulfillments for the Hyundai Veloster N TCR and TCA teams and drivers from the BHA’s headquarters in Speedway, IN. Since its North American debut in 2019, the Hyundai Veloster N TCR has scored 26 race wins, and three TCR championship titles.
P.R. Bryan Herta Autosport
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.
Please visit our media website at www.HyundaiNews.com