Race Weekend Central

Bryan Herta Autosport Expands to 6 Cars In Pilot Challenge For 2022

Bryan Herta Autosport announced Thursday (Jan. 6) that they will expand from four cars to six for the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.  Unlike 2021, all six of these teams will be running the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.  Last season, the team fielded two Elantras and two Veloster N TCRs.

There will be driver lineups that stay the same and others that will change.  Defending TCR champions Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler will continue to drive together.  They will move from the Veloster into a new Elantra that will wear the No. 1.

“2021 was a dream season with Bryan Herta Autosport, and I am ready to build on our success in 2022!,” Hagler stated in the press release.  “It means so much to carry the No. 1 on our car as the defending champion, and to be able to drive with Michael again this season.  We have developed a great relationship and continuity is so important to building a strong team like the BHA organization.  While I am going to miss our trusty Veloster N TCR, it is going to be great to make our first laps in the Hyundai Elantra N TCR at Daytona.  I kept an eye on our teammates all season last year to see how the car progressed and the car looks great and is fast.  It will be nice to build on all of the work that the team has done with the Elantra N TCR and see if we can repeat as champions in 2022 against some great competition.”

Ryan Norman will drive the No. 2 Elantra with AJ Muss, who comes to the team from Copeland Motorsports.  Norman’s teammate from 2021, Harry Gottsacker, will move to the No. 98 alongside Parker Chase.  The move reunites the Texan racers, who competed as teammates for Performance Motorsports Group in what was then Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS class in Ginettas back in 2016.

“When Bryan called and said he wanted to put Harry and me in the same car, it just seemed like we were putting the band back together,” Chase said.  “Harry and I started our careers in sports cars as teammates and we both went on our own path to establish our careers.  It is great to meet up again in a team we both consider our family with Hunter Wright as our engineer as he worked with both of us in the World Challenge series.  I am hoping we can bring the team some more wins together in 2022 and have some fun along the way.”

Tyler Maxson, the 2020 TC America TCR class champion, moves over from Copeland Motorsports to drive the No. 77 Elantra.  His teammate will be Mason Filippi, who won the 2020 TCR class championship along Lewis.  He returns to BHA after a year at Copeland Motorsports as Muss’ teammate.

Mark Wilkins, who shared his car with Gottsacker in 2021, will drive the No. 33 Elantra.  As of this point, Wilkins’ teammate is unannounced.  Finally, the No. 54 team will continue with Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson (Johnson’s longtime driver coach) continuing to drive together.  This team has raced under the Michael Johnson Racing banner in the past, but was fully fielded by BHA in 2021.

“The competition continues to rise in TCR and having our entire 2021 line-up return, while welcoming four new drivers shows we are not taking defending the championship title lightly,” said Bryan Herta, president and team owner, in the press release.  “Thanks to the men and women of BHA who worked so hard through the holidays and a short off season to make sure we are ready to start 2022 stronger than ever.”

2021 was a very successful season in Michelin Pilot Challenge.  In addition to Lewis and Hagler claiming the TCR championship, BHA won three races.  Hagler and Lewis won at Lime Rock, while Chase and Norman won Mid-Ohio.  Gottsacker and Wilkins won at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in September.  BHA Hyundais ended up with four of the top five positions in TCR team points in 2021.  Only the KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo in third prevented a BHA sweep of the top four positions.

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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