Michael Lewis took the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai i30 N TCR race car to another strong win Sunday at Utah Motorsports Campus with his fourth TCR victory of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge season, scoring back-to-back TCR wins in the PWC Grand Prix of Utah.
Lewis totaled a perfect race weekend with two TCR wins as well as two pole positions (52 points) in his quest for the inaugural Pirelli World Challenge TCR drivers’ championship. Sunday’s TCR race featured a standing start in the 40-minute feature.
The big weekend for Lewis closed the gap on current point leader Ryan Eversley with two races remaining at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 31-Sept. 2. Eversley leads, 225-218.
“The standing starts are a little more intense,” said Lewis. “You have a few more things to do than when you have a rolling start. But our Hyundais have a really good launch and a real handbrake to help with the launch.
“We were going hard for a while and then all of a sudden it felt weird as if I had a flat tire or had come in contact with some oil or something. It made me go really wide in the esses. It was definitely intense out there but I’m glad we got back some of the grip there in the end.”
Lewis defeated his BHA Hyundai teammate, Mark Wilkins, driving the No. 99 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai i30 N TCR, in the 20-lap TCR Round 10 feature by 1.065 seconds with Eversley third, a great comeback from a poor start in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR.
“The i30 was great,” said Wilkins. “We had some BoP adjustments last night which added some weight which we definitely felt, but we had a great start anyway. Both Michael and I got off the line dead even and the cars ran flawless for us again today, albeit sliding around a little bit more today so we had to be a little bit more careful with the tires, but another 1-2 for Bryan Herta Autosport.
“This is a great track, we had a lot of fun. The surface was a little bit different today for sure. It was pretty good for a few laps there but there were a few laps where both Michael and I felt like there was just no grip. There are always a few variables to deal with on a late restart, but our cars are able to handle it.”
Trailing the top-three in the TCR event Sunday at UMC was Matt Fassnacht in the No. 74 Murillo Racing Audi Sport RS3 LMS, Michael Hurczyn in the No. 74 FCP Euro by HRD Volkswagen Gold GTI TCR, Mason Filippi in the No. 44 RealTime Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR, Jarett Andretti in the No. 18 Copeland Motorsports/Tilton Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and J.T. Coupal in the No. 77 Compass Racing Audi Sport RS3 LMS.
In the TCA action, young Tom O’Gorman of Mason, Ohio captured his second main event of the weekend in the No. 94 TOMO Racing Honda Civic Si over Jeff Sexton in the No. 89 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS and Moisey Uretsky in the No. 55 Murillo Racing Mazda Global MX-R Cup car.
The win for O’Gorman left him one point from clinching the TCA series title, as the former TCB champion moves to the final two events of the TCA schedule at Watkins Glen International.
“The car was faster for sure with the lower temps and everything the car was a little more grippy for sure,” said O’Gorman. “But there were definitely some issues later on. The track was a little gravelly. I actually gave my crew a little bit of a scare because I radioed in and told them I had a flat and they were ready to bring me in. Fortunately, we figured it out in the end.
“Today was really different from racing yesterday [Saturday]. There is something to be said about running at altitude and we’re the only turbo car in the field. So, the World Challenge tech guys know what to do to make the car competitive to the naturally aspirated cars.”