On Thursday, Hyundai announced a new relationship with Bryan Herta Autosport at the Chicago Auto Show that will see the INDYCAR team field two Hyundai i30 N TCRs in Pirelli World Challenge’s new TCR class in 2018. The two i30 Ns will be driven by Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis.
BHA owner Bryan Herta is looking forward to a new adventure in Pirelli World Challenge.
“We couldn’t be more excited about our new relationship with Hyundai N in this highly competitive manufacturer-based Pirelli World Challenge TCR class,” Herta stated. “Having witnessed the untapped potential of i30 N TCR race platform for this series, we’re more than confident we can leverage the strength of Hyundai’s racing and performance groups to great success in the 2018 season.”
BHA’s drivers bring a good amount of experience to the table. Wilkins spent last season as one of Acura’s factory racers. He competed part-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and in Pirelli World Challenge’s SprintX races. Wilkins’ best IMSA finish was 11th in the GT Daytona class at Daytona, while he won SprintX race No. 1 at Utah Motorsports Campus with Peter Kox for RealTime Racing.
Lewis spent 2017 running for K-PAX Racing. Originally, he shared the No. 98 McLaren in the SprintX races with Mike Hedlund. However, after the No. 98 was parked for the season, he moved to the No. 6 in the Pro-Pro division alongside Bryan Sellers. Lewis’ best finish was fifth in the final race at Circuit of the Americas.
It should be noted that the i30 is not sold in the United States. In fact, Hyundai’s lineups in the United States and Europe differ significantly. Currently, Hyundai markets 24 different models and sub-models in Europe. A grand total of eight of those are currently for sale in the United States. Those on sale in both markets are the Elantra, the Genesis G80, Tucson, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe and the three-car Ioniq line. The Kona will join that bunch when it goes on sale in the United States later this year.
Also of note, the N represents Hyundai’s new high-performance division. The i30 N TCR is based on the i30 N street car, the first car to be released to the general public from the new N unit.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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If I had to bet on another manufacturer joining nascar it would be Hyundai.