Two BHA Elantra N TCR’s in Title Contention Heading Into Road Atlanta Finale
The Championship Chase: Bryan Herta Autosport seeks its
fifth straight TCR title this week since joining IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge with Hyundai in 2019. Two of the team s’ three entries are in title contention, Harry Gottsacker and Robert Wickens are the series leaders (+20 points) in the #33 Elantra N TCR, while Mason Filippi and Mark Wilkins are third (-70) in the #98 Elantra N TCR.
2019 Champions: Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins, #98 Veloster N TCR
2020 Champions: Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman, #33 Veloster N TCR
2021: Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis, #77 Veloster N TCR
2022: Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis, #1 Elantra N TCR
How They Got There, Consistency is Key: BHA has recorded just two wins this season, fewer than any previous IMPC Season. Consistency is what has taken them to the front of this year’s championship chase. Points leaders Gottsacker and Wickens have yet to score a victory in 2023, but they have set a new IMPC record for the most second place finishes in a single season (7) and they’ve missed the podium just twice in nine races. Filippi and Wilkens are two-time winners in 2023 and have also finished on the podium in seven races thus far.
What It’s Going to Take to Clinch: For the No. 33 to secure the title, the simplest path is to finish ahead of the No. 17 and no worse than eighth overall in TCR. For Filippi, Wilkins and the No. 98 Hyundai, it’s pretty clear cut. They must win and have the other two contenders finish ninth or lower in the 13-car TCR field.
Adapted: It’s been just 19 races since Robert Wickens raced with hand controls for the first time. What seems unfathomable to most has been nearly seamless for Wickens. He has a 52% podium rate, and he enters his 20th…leading the championship alongside co-driver Harry Gottsacker.
Raising More $$$ at Road Atlanta: The #33 debuted its special livery commemorating Hyundai Hope On Wheel’s 25th anniversary at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Championship front-runner will show it again this week at Road Atlanta and Hyundai will once again donate $100 for every lap led by a Hyundai TCR car in the Fox Factory 120. The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation will be the beneficiary of this weeks success. Hyundai donated $10,800 to the Rileys Childrens Hospital in Indianapolis after Hyundai’s led 108 laps in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 240.
HHOW 25 Years: Hyundai Hope On Wheels® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Launched in 1998, Hyundai Hope On Wheels provides grants to
eligible institutions nationwide that are pursuing critical research aimed at improving treatments and saving lives. Hyundai Hope On Wheels is one of the largest nonprofit funders of pediatric cancer research in the country. For every new Hyundai vehicle sold, Hyundai and its dealers make a donation to Hyundai Hope On Wheels. In 2023, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has awarded $25 million in research grants, bringing the organization’s lifetime donation total to $225
#33 Elantra N TCR
2023 Stats: Best Start: 1st Best Finish: 2nd Rank: 1st 2730 pts
Harry Gottsacker IV: “It is the most important weekend of the year at Road Atlanta. If we win the race, the championship is taken care of for us. It’s been great being at BHA and Hyundai as manufacturers champions, but we want this championship for our #33 bunch. We’ve been working really hard for this for a long time and I’m excited to see where we are at after 2 hours on Friday in Atlanta.”
Robert Wickens: “It is going down to the wire this weekend. The goal at the beginning of the season was to challenge for the championship and have been doing just that all season long. We are going into the season finale as the points leaders so the target is pretty clear. We have been doing everything right this year, as long as we can have the same approach this weekend we will be in good shape.”