Lakeville, Connecticut — Michael Lewis claimed his second TCR feature win of the 2018 season on Saturday, May 26. Michael earned P3 in Race 1 and P1 in Race 2, while his teammate Mark Wilkins earned P2 in both Race 1 and Race 2.
Michael and teammate Mark Wilkins began the event weekend setting fast practice times on Friday, May 25, before driving the Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian Hyundai i30 N TCR to third and second, respectively, in qualifying later that afternoon for Saturday’s twin 40-minute Pirelli World Challenge TCR class feature races at the historic Lime Rock Park 1.5-mile road circui
Michael, the Laguna Beach, California, driver, recorded a best lap of 53.859 seconds at 98.52 mph in his No. 98 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR race car, which placed him P3 for the start of Race 1. When the green flag waved for the rolling start, Michael and his teammate Mark drove side by side into Turn 1. At the exit of the turn, Michael slotted back into P3 and ran nose to tail with the front two drivers in the opening laps. Mark remained in P2 for the entire race with Michael in his tow. The leader had a bit more overall pace than Michael and Mark, but in traffic, which is always tricky to manage at Lime Rock, the leader lost some time. This allowed Mark and Michael to close a bit during the race. After a few caution flags and hard green-flag running, at the end of the 40-minute race, Michael finished in P3. The race ended under caution as a result of an incident with a few minutes remaining.
Just hours after the conclusion of Race 1, Michael started Race 2 from the pole position as a result of setting the fastest race lap in the first race. After a strong launch from the standing start procedure, Michael proceeded to lead each lap to claim the victory over his teammate Mark Wilkins by 1.124 seconds at the checkered flag. Though the yellow flag flew a few times during this second race, more green flag racing occurred, resulting in Michael and Mark running P1 and P2, respectively, for the entire race. Both drivers executed their jobs well and were able to stay in front of their main competitor who won Race 1.
“This weekend we came in thinking we weren’t going to be the strongest due to the changes in BoP (Balance of Performance),” Michael explained. “It ended up being okay, but we couldn’t make any mistakes. Mark executed great in qualifying and Race 1. I did some qualifying antics in Race 1 to get pole position for Race 2, because that seemed to be the only way for us to get a win. It is really hard to pass while on track, so I took a lap in Race 1 to make some space and use the grip of the tires while early in the run, to put down a solid lap time. It ended up being pole for Race 2, but barely. That was my plan and it pretty much ended up working out! Our team did such an amazing job prepping the cars for each session and then applying the necessary changes to them for the following sessions. There was very little time to do everything, and the team did it! I am so thankful for their work to get us on track, and Mark and I had fast cars to work with. It definitely wasn’t easy to get the win, as our competition had just a little bit more pace than us, but we executed our plan well and we made no mistakes. That’s how we ended up on top!”
Watch Michael’s interview about his victory in Race 2 by clicking the following two links:
Video Interview Part 1: https://instagram.com/p/BjXswyph9fg/
Video Interview Part 2: https://instagram.com/p/BjXxNUahHr_/
View Michael’s victory on CBS Sports Network with race coverage scheduled for Sunday, June 10, at 1 p.m. EDT / 10 a.m. PDT.
The Pirelli World Challenge TCR Rounds 7 and 8 now move to the Pacific Northwest for the annual Rose Cup Races on July 13–15, where Michael and his BHA team will seek more 2018 TCR wins.