Bryan Herta Autosport could double its involvement in Michelin Pilot Challenge next year with as many as four Hyundai Veloster N TCR cars on the grid.
The Indianapolis-based team has revealed intentions of expanding its TCR class effort, with the goal of strengthening Hyundai’s chances of securing the manufacturers’ championship.
Hyundai, which has just two cars represented in the TCR class for its inaugural season this year, currently trails Audi by four points in the manufacturers’ championship heading into next month’s season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
“We’re finalizing all of that now but I’d like to expand our footprint here in IMSA,” Herta told Sportscar365.
“We’ll definitely run two cars. I’d like to see us to expand to three and possibly I’d even consider four for next year.
“The one thing I’ve learned this year as a two-car program competing against many more Honda and Audis, is for the manufacturer’s championship, which is important to Hyundai, there’s strength in numbers.
“If we want to increase our chances there, we need to increase the number of cars we have out in the field.”
Herta said the expanded grid could come in the form of other teams running Hyundais or his operation taking it on themselves if a customer does not step up to the plate for 2020.
While two of the new-for-2019 Veloster N TCRs have been sold to customers in the U.S., it’s understood neither are currently planned to enter Pilot Challenge next year.
“If there was another team and drivers that wanted to run cars, I’d be quite happy for that to happen. But if nobody steps up, we’d do what we could to,” Herta said.
“One way or another, we want to have more Hyundai Veloster N TCRs out there.”
Herta, who also serves as Hyundai’s North American customer support partner, said the level of interest among teams has been encouraging.
“We’ve talked to a few different people who are interested in racing here next year and we have more cars coming before the end of the year to facilitate that,” he said.
“I’m going to take the approach that if somebody else doesn’t step up, and I hope they do, then we will.”
Herta said their support scales “really easily” as more customer teams are added to the Hyundai fold in both Pilot Challenge and SRO’s TC America.
“We have all of the infrastructure in place,” he said. “We have the technical support staff in place, we have a spares package in place in the U.S.
“As more cars come to the U.S, we increase our capacity, we increase our spares we have on-site.
“The hard part was getting everything set up. We’ve already done that.”
BHA Set for Multi-Car Michelin Encore Effort
Herta said the team is committed to November’s Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore with at least two Veloster N TCRs, which could be used as a driver evaluation process for the 2020 season.
“It may or may not be with our regular drivers,” he said.
“We may use that as an opportunity to get some other people in the cars and give some other drivers a chance to see what the Hyundai Veloster is all about.”