Mark Wilkins Sets the Pace in New TCR Class Friday As Hyundai Driver Records Quickest Practice Time at COTA
Martin Jensen, Ryan Eversley Clocked 2nd & 3rd Best Times
Austin, Texas – Veteran Mark Wilkins showed the potential of the new Hyundai i30 N TCR hatchback Friday by driving the Bryan Herta Autosport racer to the best lap of the Pirelli World Challenge practice runs in the all-new TCR class at the Grand Prix of Texas at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
Wilkins, a past PWC GT and GTS race winner of Mulmur, Ont., Canada, drove the No. 99 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR to a top lap of two minutes, 21.188 seconds (87.47 miles per hour) to easily pace the 14-car TCR lineup in its inaugural PWC racing weekend.
“It’s a good thing for the Hyundai i30 N TCR today,” said Wilkins. “We have been trying to work on our strategy for the race and tire wear also. We have been learning a lot about this new car for our team and working on getting more pace each run. But we will see where everyone else is on Saturday. I think it will be very close. We are working and learning different things in the two cars with Michael (Lewis, BHA Hyundai teammate) and myself. I think we have found something in the two cars that will work well for us. We have found some things in tire longevity which could be the most important item in the races for us this weekend.”
Denmark’s Martin Jensen notched the second quickest lap in TCR Friday in the No. 70 Alfacr.USA Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR with a 2:19.922 (87.02 m.p.h.) followed by veteran driver Ryan Eversley of Atlanta, Ga., in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR with a 2:19.958 (87.0 m.p.h.)
Completing the top-six TCR Friday at COTA was Jerimy Daniel of Montreal, Que., Canada in the No. 2 The Racing Company Audi Sport RS3 LMS at 2:22.229 (86.83 m.p.h.), Mason Filippi of Alamo, Calif., in the TFB Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR at 2:22.257 (86.82 m.p.h.) and Lewis, in the No. 99 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai i30 N TCR, at 2:22.319 (86.78 m.p.h.).
Saturday’s Round 1 in the TCR/TCA divisions is set for 4:55 p.m. CDT, while Sunday’s 40-minute race will take place at 12:25 p.m.
Leading the Touring Car category Friday was veteran Vesko Kozarov of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 3 Rearden Nissan 370z TC Spec with a 2:26.346 lap at 84.39 m.p.h. over the 3.427-mile, 20-turn road circuit. This weekend’s TC events are set for Saturday at 12:10 p.m. CDT and Sunday at 3:25 p.m.
Topping the charts Friday in the TCA class was Bryan Ortiz of Bayamon, P.R., in the No. 4 Copeland Motorsports Mazda Global MX-5 Cup car at 2:35.749 (79.30 m.p.h.), just nipping the time of 2:35.765 (79.29 m.p.h.) of former TCB champion Tom O’Gorman of Mason, Ohio, in the No. 94 RealTime Racing Honda Civic Si.