Hyundai is taking IMSA Michelin Pilot TCR champions Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler, along with fellow Bryan Herta Autosport racers Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker, to one of the world’s toughest 24-hour races, the ADAC TotalEnergies 24 Hour Race at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit in May. Hyundai Motor America alongside Hyundai Motorsport GmbH will partner with Target Competition to field a single Elantra N TCR entry piloted by the veteran lineup of Hyundai drivers from BHA.
“Hyundai and Bryan Herta Autosport give us such great opportunities,” said Lewis. “It is cool to compete in a historic, unique, and crazy event where we can showcase Hyundai’s vehicles amongst the great competition out there. 24 hours around probably the most difficult circuit out there, but we love it and that’s the kind of stuff we look to do. Thank you to Hyundai for making this happen for us and we will do our best and have fun.”
Since 1970, the Nurburgring 24 Hours has been a staple on the European racing network that highlights touring cars and GT endurance racing. Team Target Competition is no stranger to the world of TCR racing in Europe and gives a familiarity to the Hyundai BHA drivers ahead of their debut.
Target Competition has earned championship accolades, including back-to-back drivers and team championship titles in the TCR International Series (2015) and in ADAC TCR Germany series (2016, 2017) as well as capturing the TCR Europe Trophy in 2017.
The Hyundai Elantra N TCR that the racers will drive is a clone to the Elantra Ns that they drive in IMPC, where Lewis and Hagler have taken the drivers championship two years straight and Hyundai has claimed he manufacturers championship as well.
“I look forward to representing Hyundai USA in an international program for the first time in Germany,” said Hagler. “We will have the opportunity to sample a wide range of the race-prepared versions of the N vehicles as we work to qualify for the race. It will be a busy spring balancing the logistics of our IMSA and Nurburgring 24 schedules and spending time on the simulator to prepare for the race!”
To be eligible to compete, all four Hyundai BHA drivers are required to participate in informative classes, Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) races and a specific qualifying race ahead of their entry into the ADAC TotalEnergies 24 Hours event. Within the required NLS races, all four drivers will pilot a Hyundai i30 N streetcar featuring only slightly modified safety equipment in co-driver pairings of Hagler and Lewis then Gottsacker and Filippi. Given the eligibility requirements, the drivers will be taking six trips to Germany leading up to the start of the 24 Hours weekend. Immediately after the checkered flag waves at Sebring, drivers will depart to ensure their timely participation in their first NLS race.
“I am very grateful for Hyundai making this happen, and it’s an honor to represent Team America at the Nürburgring,” Filippi said. “I cannot wait for each of the six trips and to run as many laps as possible to learn such a grueling, but fun track. Hyundais are fun to drive and it will be exciting to get behind even more N models while roasting around the Nordschleife. The Nurburgring is my favorite track I’ve ever driven, and I am fulfilling one of my dreams by competing there over the next few months.”
Expanding on Hyundai’s international reach around the Nürburgring 24 Hours, Jeff Ricca of Ricca Autosport will represent Hyundai Motor America within the VT2 class of the Hyundai i30 Fastback N Cup as the sole driver from the United States via Hyundai’s “Dare to Dream” global program. Ricca currently drives a Hyundai Elantra N in the TC class of the 2023 SRO TC America Powered by Skip Barber Racing School championship and has previous experience at the 24-hour event providing key knowledge of European competition.