Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis Clinch
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Title
BHA Wins Third Consecutive IMSA Championship
Speedway, IN – The Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) pairing of Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis clinched the TCR class drivers’ title in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) by finishing fifth in the #77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR at the series finale at Road Atlanta. The result also allowed them to clinch the teams’ championship, while Hyundai was confirmed as manufacturers’ champions for the second consecutive year.
Their performance across the year put them in a comfortable position entering the two-hour finale. The pair only had to start the race to be guaranteed enough points to end the season in celebration. Lewis and Hagler also gave BHA the teams’ title for a third consecutive season. “I am so honored to represent Hyundai, Michelin, IMSA and of course my team, Bryan Herta Autosport as the first female to hold the Michelin Pilot Challenge title. I joined this team earlier this year knowing I would have the tools to become a better race car driver, but I didn’t really expect to win this championship so quickly. I have a lot of gratitude for my co-driver Michael (Lewis) and our Engineer Kyle Compton, they encouraged me when I needed it, challenged me every race weekend and they really helped me refine my skills on the track,” commented Taylor Hagler.
BHA’s pair of Elantra N TCR cars, which made their debut at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway were similarly crucial to securing the sweep of the titles. The Elantra N TCR crews won a race apiece. Parker Chase and Ryan Norman scored the model’s first win in IMSA competition just three races into the season at Mid-Ohio – the same track where the Veloster N TCR had its own maiden victory in 2019 – before Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker led a 1-2-3 for BHA at Hyundai’s home race at California’s Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca in September.
Between them, the two Elantra N TCR scored six podiums and accounted for four pole positions – the most of any model on the grid. The pace of the new-for-2021 package was on full show in qualifying for the finale at Road Atlanta where the two cars locked out the front row before leading the early part of the race. Chase would be the best placed of the Elantra N TCR drivers in the championship – taking second place. That finish was equaled by his #98 team, with the #33 of Wilkins and Gottsacker ending the year fifth in the teams’ points. Harry Gottsacker was recognized at the season ending awards banquet where he was given the Motul Pole Award trophy for the second year in a row. Gottsacker tied the series record for the most pole positions in TCR with his fifth career pole at Virginia International Raceway.
Michael Johnson Racing joined the trio of BHA entries this season, running the #54 Universal Coating Veloster N TCR adapted with hand controls. Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson started their first season with the Hyundai on a high point. On a circuit where straight-line speed is vital, they became the first Hyundai crew ever to stand on the podium at the famous Daytona International Speedway after finishing third in the series’ showpiece season opener. Johnson and Simpson revisited the podium later in the season, finishing second at Virginia International Raceway, and finished sixth in the championship.