Simpson, Johnson lead Hyundai squad with second place at IMSA’s penultimate roundadmin
Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson raced to second place in the #54 Universal Coating Hyundai Veloster N TCR race car at the Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix Sunday at Virginia International Raceway, moving all the way up from a ninth-place start.
Simpson and Johnson piloted the top finishing Hyundai race car, followed by teammates Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins in third. The series points leaders, Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis, rounded out the top five, extending their championship margin.
“We are thrilled to be back on the podium. Our Veloster N TCR was strong out there. Both Stephen (Simpson) and I passed a lot of cars today and second place is a great reward,” said Michael Johnson, a driver who joined the Hyundai squad this season with co-driver Simpson. It was the second podium appearance of the year for Johnson and Simpson, who opened the season with a third-place finish at Daytona International Raceway, Hyundai’s first podium finish at that track.
Harry Gottsacker scored his fifth IMSA pole position at VIR, he is now tied for the most pole positions ever in IMSA’s TCR category. “It’s great to get another pole position with the wicked fast Elantra N TCR. I love qualifying, and our engineer David Brown keeps setting up a great race car, I am glad we are able to show its potential. I’ll be going for my sixth pole and the tie-breaker at Altanta,” said Gottsacker.
Next up, Bryan Herta Autosport is looking to secure its third straight IMSA team and drivers’ championship and second consecutive manufacturers title for Hyundai at the 2021 Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale. The four-car team currently holds the top four positions in the IMPC standings, and Hyundai holds a 40 point lead in the manufacturers’ championship. Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis maintain a hefty lead heading into the finale, should they secure the title, Hagler will be the first female driver to win a TCR championship in North America and IMSA’s second female champion ever.
The Fox Factory 120 takes place at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. For more information about the race visit bryanhertaautosport.com.