Wilkins, Lewis Lead Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai TCR Team In Pirelli World Challenge TCR Doubleheader at VIR
After sensational TCR debut at COTA, two Hyundai i30 N drivers prepared for VIR doubleheader
ALTON, Va. – The Bryan Herta Autosport team heads into VIRginia International Raceway as the favorites this weekend (April 27-29) in the all-new TCR division after a dominating performance in the season-opening event last month at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
Drivers Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis drove their identical Hyundai i30 N TCR sedans to victory in the two TCR 40-minute sprint races with wire-to-wire 1-2 finishes at the state-of-the-art road circuit in Austin, Texas. The BHA Hyundai debut in the Pirelli World Challenge also included 1-2 qualifying showings with Wilkins taking the No. 99 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR machine to two pole positions.
Now, Wilkins, the veteran racer from Canada, and Lewis, the young college student from Laguna Beach, Calif., come to the fast 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road circuit in search of another doubleheader victory celebration in the Saturday and Sunday 40-minute sprint races.
But both drivers are aware of the new TCR competition that is also learning their new TCR cars in Rounds 3 and 4 this weekend.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend at COTA for the Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai team,” said Wilkins, a multi-time starter at VIR in a variety of sports cars. “My car had not run on a track until Thursday of race week and I really wasn’t sure what to expect at COTA. But the BHA crew did a spectacular job preparing the Hyundai i30 N TCR cars for Michael and myself. The cars were fast throughout the weekend and we hope to continue that trend at VIR. But it won’t be easy with the top TCR field set to battle us.”
The all-new TCR division was introduced at COTA in Pirelli World Challenge with cars from Audi, Alfa Romeo, Honda and Volkswagen in addition to the new Hyundai i30 N. The VIR TCR field will have 14 entries with all five auto makes set to hit the track when practice rounds begin on Friday (April 27) in the PWC Grand Prix of Virginia.
“It was very exciting at COTA with the debut of the Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai i30 N TCR cars,” said Lewis, who won Round 1 at COTA. “I was thrilled to win the first TCR race in Pirelli World Challenge history. And Mark was extremely quick in the second race. I just couldn’t catch him in that event. But we know the competition will be shooting for us at VIR. We have to be ready for those challenges when practice opens on Friday. I also know the BHA Hyundai team is prepared for the battle once again.”
Wilkins and Lewis both competed last year at VIR in the GT SprintX events and have experience at the high-speed road circuit.
“I expect the TCR cars to be fun to drive at VIR,” said Wilkins, who finished second at VIR in 2008 Grand Am sports car event. “The cars will be very fast in the corners and close to flat-out in the famous esses. I think most drivers really like the VIR circuit and it will be a blast with the new TCR cars this weekend.”
“I would say that VIR is a driver’s track,” said Lewis. “We really enjoy driving the circuit and I can’t wait to get back there with the Hyundai i30 N TCR car. The TCR cars should put on a good show there.”
The TCR class hit the VIR track officially on Friday (April 27) at 11:20 a.m. EDT with a 40-minute practice as well as at 4:35 p.m. EDT for 40 minutes. Saturday’s TCR action starts with a 9:10 a.m. EDT qualifying round and then the Round 3 40-minute race at 2:40 p.m. EDT. Sunday’s Round 4 40-minute contest will begin at 10:20 a.m. EDT.
All TCR races at VIR will have live streaming on www.world-challenge.com.
About Pirelli World Challenge (PWC): The Pirelli World Challenge is a North American auto racing series launched in 1990 by the Sports Car Club of America. It has been managed by WC Vision since 2008, and sanctioned by the United States Auto Club since 2017. The series consists of seven driver classifications and several classes of vehicles, including: Grand Touring, GT Cup, GTS, TCR, TC and TCA. The series frequently races alongside the IndyCar Series on race event weekends. Each Pirelli World Challenge Touring TCR season consists of six event weekends with doubleheader races for a total of 12 rounds. Each weekend has one standing start as well as one rounding start. Each TCR race has a maximum 40-minute time limit.
About Bryan Herta Autosport
Co-Founded by Bryan Herta in 2009, Bryan Herta Autosport has grown from a single-car Indy Lights team into a world-renowned auto-racing franchise. The team made its first foray into IndyCar action in 2010 with an entry in the Indianapolis 500 while continuing to run a full-time multi-car Indy Lights program. The 2011 Indianapolis 500 was the final race of the Centennial Era, a celebration of 100 years of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Also known as “The Most Important Race in History,” the 100th anniversary of the inaugural 1911 race was the second IndyCar race in which Herta Racing competed.
Five years later, Bryan Herta Autosport, while partnered with Andretti Autosport, defied the odds again and won their second Indianapolis 500 with rookie driver Alexander Rossi. In 2015, Bryan Herta Rallysport made its debut in the exciting Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship.
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. Please visit our media website at www.HyundaiNews.com