Hyundai and Bryan Herta Autosport to Defend All Three Championship Titles in the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) SeasonRace: Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 at Daytona International SpeedwayRound: 1 of 10 in the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
After a championship-winning season in the 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC), Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) is back with an imposing stable of six Elantra N TCR cars and a Veloster N TCR entry managed by van der Steur Racing in 2022. The season begins with a four-hour endurance race on Jan. 28, 2022, ahead of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona race weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
The 14-driver lineup is led by returning champions Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis in the #1 Elantra N TCR. Former Formula One test driver and 2018 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year, Robert Wickens, makes his inspiring return to professional racing in the #33 Elantra N TCR.
• Reigning IMPC champions Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis will return in the #1 Elantra N TCR, attempting to repeat their historic success.
• Ryan Norman will co-drive the #2 Elantra N TCR with AJ Muss.
• The #33 Elantra N TCR will be driven by Canadian duo Robert Wickens and Mark Wilkins, marking Wickens’ return to professional racing.
• Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson will return to co-drive the #54 Universal Coating Elantra N TCR.
• Mason Filippi will compete alongside Tyler Maxson, racing the #77 Elantra N TCR.
• Texans Harry Gottsacker and Parker Chase will partner behind the wheel of the #98 Elantra N TCR to round out the six-car Elantra N lineup.
• The Van der Steur Racing #17 Veloster N TCR will be piloted by Rory van der Steur and Tyler Gonzalez.
Wickens Makes His Racing Return
On Jan. 14, international racing star Robert Wickens announced his long-awaited return to competition piloting the #33 Elantra N TCR car alongside fellow Canadian driver Mark Wilkins for the 2022 IMPC season. The former Formula One test driver will take the green flag for the first time since 2018 at the four-hour endurance challenge on Jan. 28 at Daytona International Speedway.
As Wickens prepares to make his return, he will be aided by long-time motorsports trainer Jim Leo who will assist the Canadian driver during driver changes throughout the four-hour endurance challenge. Leo is renowned in the motorsports community for his dedication to driver fitness and has aided in Wickens’ recovery since his accident in 2018.
Hyundai Race Cars Utilizing Hand Controls
Two of the Hyundai Elantra N TCRs will utilize a hand control system created by QuidoSimplex, first utilized in North America by BHA Hyundai driver, Michael Johnson. The controls have been adapted by BHA Technical Director, David Brown, and Development Technician, Jonathan Ghormley, specifically for Robert Wickens to be utilized in the #33 Elantra N TCR this season.
The specialized hardware allows braking, throttle and shifting inputs by hand. Wickens will pull a metal ring located behind the steering wheel towards his body to apply brake pressure and utilize paddles attached to the wheel for throttle application and gear changes.
The unique system can easily be swapped to engage the floor pedals when the #33 Elantra N TCR is operated by teammate Mark Wilkins following driver changes.
Maxson, One to Watch
At age 17, Tyler Maxson is accustomed to success. The Georgian already has two touring car championships on his resume. Maxson became the youngest SRO title-winner in history in 2019 and ran away with the SRO TCR Championship as a rookie in 2020, scoring 12 wins in the #74 Veloster N TCR. Maxson and teammate Mason Filippi will aim for title contention in 2022 behind the wheel of the #77 Elantra N TCR.
Historic Number Plate for Historic Champions
Last November, Taylor Hagler became the first woman to win the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge championship and her teammate, Michael Lewis, became the first two-time TCR champion in IMSA history. This year, they get to start off on the same foot by making history again as the first drivers to run the number 1 on their Elantra N TCR as defending champions in IMPC.