Bryan Herta says Hyundai is now ‘pushing ahead’ with sales of its new TCR car, with the goal of securing customer teams for both IMSA and SRO America competition in 2019.
Announced on Friday, the Korean manufacturer will roll out with the Hyundai Veloster N TCR, initially with Bryan Herta Autosport in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, although the new-for-2019 car will be made available to customers early into the year.
BHA, which won the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge TCR teams and manufacturers’ championship with the previous-generation i30 N TCR, has been tasked with the North American sales and technical support of both cars.
According to Herta, an initial batch of six Veloster N TCRs have been allocated to the North American market and are scheduled to go into production in the coming weeks.
“We’ve now been cleared to talk to teams and drivers interested in purchasing cars,” Herta told Sportscar365. “We’re going to push ahead.
“We’ll definitely have customer cars available by the end of February. The sooner we get indications of interest and deposits, we’ll start building cars right away.”
Herta said an initial development car is currently being built at Hyundai Motorsport GmbH in Germany, with testing set to begin next month in Portugal ahead of its competition debut in January’s Pilot Challenge season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
While BHA will field two cars in the full IMSA season, the team will not return to SRO America competition next year, although Herta said they’re eager to support teams in the newly named TC America series, which the TCR class now falls under.
“We’re looking for a team that we can support and provide technical support and help build off what we were able to do in that paddock last year,” he said.
“We think we can offer them a real competitive leg up, based on what we learned last year.”
Herta: PWC, California 8 Hours Helped Prep BHA for IMSA
Herta feels the team’s recent endurance debut, as well as a full season of TCR racing in PWC, will pay dividends as it transitions to Pilot Challenge next year.
BHA took part in last month’s California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with the father-and-son duo of Bryan and Colton Herta and George Kurtz taking class honors.
“It was so good for us because we identified things we didn’t know about the car, in terms of endurance racing like brake cooling, pit stops, the way we were running our air jacks… just 100 little things that we would have had to learn at Daytona that we learned in California under a little less pressure,” Herta said.
“The focus was always for us to spend a year learning TCR racing.
“This type of platform is very different from what we do in IndyCar or what we did in Rallycross and some of our other racing background.
“It was really to focus and learn. We did that. Now with the Veloster N coming on, it’s going to be a much bigger program. It’s going to be exciting with a lot of support from Hyundai behind it.”
Herta said they’ve already already finalized three of the four drivers for the 2019 program, with an announcement expected early next year, alongside the launch of the car.
Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins drove the team’s two i30 N TCRs in PWC this year.