The announcement late last week that Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai would team up for the 2019 IMSA M Pilot Challenge season in the Hyundai Veloster N TCR was a significant one for the rapidly growing series and its TCR platform.
It also was an important one for prospective teams and drivers who may be interested in a move to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series with Hyundai. The announcement — which took place last Friday at Sebring International Raceway as part of the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore — included additional details that Bryan Herta Autosport will sell Hyundai TCR race cars to customer teams and provide technical and parts support.
Hyundai also announced that it will support customer teams in the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge with optional contingency awards programs in each series. Participating IMSA teams will be eligible for contingency payouts for each 2019 race based on results and eligibility requirements, including $7,500 for each TCR class win.
Additional payouts include $5,000 for a runner-up finish, $2,500 for third, $1,500 for fourth and $1,000 for fifth, and bonuses for a top three points finish in the driver championship.
“One of the things we’re most excited about is supporting the Hyundai Veloster TCR cars in the U.S. with sales, technical support and parts support,” said Bryan Herta, president and CEO of Bryan Herta Autosport. “It’s also an exciting contingency program for customers, it’s a really compelling program for anyone interested in racing with Hyundai next year.”
The addition of Bryan Herta Autosport to the IMSA paddock is also significant. Co-founded in 2009 by Herta, the team grew from a single-car Indy Lights team into an IndyCar program. In 2011, Bryan Herta Autosport won the Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon, and won its second Indianapolis 500 in 2016 with Alexander Rossi, partnered with the Andretti Autosport team. The team has also fielded entries over the years in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship and World Challenge.
The Veloster N TCR is part of the ongoing rollout of the Hyundai N brand globally and addresses the requests of Hyundai Motorsport customer teams in select national markets where the i30 N TCR race car was in competition, but the i30 N road car was not part of a region’s production-vehicle model range.
The 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season will kick off at Daytona International Speedway with a four-hour endurance race on Jan. 25, which comes three weeks after the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test weekend on Jan. 4.