Mark Wilkins says Bryan Herta Autosport is focused on proper “execution” in the competition debut of the new Hyundai Veloster N TCR at Daytona this week.
A pair of Veloster N TCRs are set for a full-season IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge campaign by the Indianapolis-based squad, which makes the transition from a championship-winning debut season in Pirelli World Challenge with the previous-generation Hyundai i30 N TCR.
Wilkins, along with 2018 teammate Michael Lewis, are set to share one of the new-for-2019 entries with Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi in the team’s second entry.
Despite missing the Roar Before the Rolex 24 as it awaited the delivery of the cars, Wilkins said they’re not concerned about the baseline Balance of Performance established without any on-track data from Daytona.
Instead the team is focused on successfully executing only its second-ever endurance race.
“I think BoP is just a variable that’s outside of our control,” Wilkins told Sportscar365. “I think we have a lot of new this weekend.
“We have pit stops, a lot of new people and things to focus on just executing the best we can. We’ll just focus on the things we know we can control and that we can do the best on to get the best result here.
“The word of the weekend is execution. From a driver’s standpoint, from a team standpoint, it’s about everyone getting that synergy we need to create the success.”
Out of the four BHA drivers, only Lewis has driven the Veloster N TCR, during a test at Portimao in December, and said it had a similar feel to the the previous-gen model.
The TCR-spec Veloster shares roughly 85 percent of the same components as the i30 N, which is not sold in North America.
It prompted the Korean manufacturer to roll out the new TCR model, primarily for IMSA and TC America competition.
“Performance-wise, it feels solid,” said Lewis, who got roughly 25 laps in the car in Portugal. “We just need to see what it’s like in IMSA competition against these cars and at these tracks.
“The team is doing their homework and we feel prepared to do what we need to do to the car to make it work, if we need to.
“Hyundai has built a great car in the past with the i30 N, so I think the Veloster will be really good too.
“We’ll have to wait and see when we get on track.”
BHA “Flat Out” in Daytona Prep
Wilkins said the team has been busy with pre-season prep, despite the tight timeframe to the car’s debut race.
The Canadian credits its run in the California 8 Hours with the i30 N TCRs, in aiding the team’s transition to the world of pit stops and driver changes.
“Over the winter, the team has worked very hard to be here,” Wilkins said.
“They had the i30 Ns to work at the shop. With the Velosters coming in in the last few weeks, they’ve been flat out just getting that prepped and doing pit stop practice and just trying to nail as many of the variables before we arrive.
“I think if we all do our jobs right, we have a good shot at a strong result.
“We’ll take what we learn here, we have some time to go back to the shop and further improve for Sebring.”