Hyundai Sweeps 2023 Drivers’, Manufacturers’, and Team Championship Titles at Road Atlantaadmin
Hyundai Motor America (HMA) secured the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) Drivers’, Manufacturers’ and Team Championship titles at Road Atlanta this weekend with a hugely successful season finale. This marks the fifth consecutive drivers’ championship for Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA). It is also the fourth consecutive team and manufacturers’ championships for BHA and Hyundai. BHA drivers, Robert Wickens and Harry Gottsacker, won their first IMPC TCR Drivers’ Championship after a season of staying consistent with seven podiums including six second-place finishes.
The drivers’ championship has special meaning for Robert Wickens who was paralyzed from the waist down in an IndyCar crash five years ago. Wickens uses a hand control system to drive the No. 33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR.
“This is very rewarding and the culmination of a lot of hard work,” said Robert Wickens. “Big thanks to Hyundai and everyone out there for all of the support.”
“I’ve enjoyed a lot of success with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai, but this is certainly the highlight of my career thus far,” said Harry Gottsacker. “We’ve spent a lot of time working together to win this title and I am very pleased.”
BHA teammates and drivers of the No. 98 Hyundai N TCR, Mark Wilkins and Mason Filippi, were the sole Hyundai race winners of the season, finishing on the top step of the podium three times at Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, and the season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The No. 1 Hyundai N TCR pairing of Taylor Hagler and Bryson Morris, who filled in for Michael Lewis during the finale event, earned a top-ten finish in the race and sixth in the championship.
As the green flag waved at the final race of the 2023 season, after qualifying in second position, the No. 98 car swiftly took over the lead of the race from the pole sitter and championship contender, the No. 17 Audi. After an early racing incident, No. 17’s championship hopes faded. The 2023 championship would come down to a race between the No. 98 Hyundai Elantra N TCR and the No. 33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR. Hyundai would go on to lead all 65 laps of the 120-minute race around Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta’s 2.54-mile circuit. After a caution-filled two-hour battle, the two-hour race finish under yellow with the No. 98 Elantra N TCR and the No. 91 Hyundai Elantra N TCR of van der Steur Racing taking first and second on the podium. The No. 33 pairing of Robert Wickens and Harry Gottsacker would finish in fourth to take the 2023 championship with a 60-point lead over their teammates in the No. 98. The remaining Hyundai entries finished in the top ten of the TCR class.
The Fox Factory 120 was the second event where the No. 33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR was outfitted in a special livery in celebration of Hyundai’s Hope On Wheels 25th Anniversary. Children’s handprints, representing the collective fight against pediatric cancer and hope for a cure, were displayed on the No. 33 car’s livery as a tribute to Hyundai Hope On Wheels’ colorful awareness campaign. In honor of the Hyundai Hope On Wheels 25th Anniversary, for every lap led by a Hyundai Elantra N TCR, $100 was donated to Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Having led all 65 laps, Hyundai raised $6,500 for the Atlanta-based children’s hospital.
Hyundai Motor America finishes the 2023 racing season with great success after winning the IMPC Manufacturers’, Drivers’, and Team Championships at Road Atlanta along with the TC America Manufacturer and Team Championship.