Hyundai could have a presence in both IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and Pirelli World Challenge next year with its next-generation TCR offering, which is due to be available for customers in North America in time for 2019.
Bryan Herta Autosport introduced the Korean marque to the North American sports car racing market in PWC competition this this year, winning the TCR team championship and finishing second and third in the driver standings with a pair of i30 N TCR entries for Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis.
Team owner Bryan Herta says that interest in the new car, which is widely tipped to be based on the Hyundai Veloster N, is high based on the team’s strong showing with the i30 N.
He added that he hopes a successful run in the upcoming California 8 Hours Intercontinental GT Challenge event will generate further interest.
“We had such a great season this year, and we’re going to start selling customer cars next year, which hasn’t exactly been announced but I want people to know we’re going to start selling customer cars,” Herta told Sportscar365.
“It’s a great package and it’s really competitive. We were able to demonstrate the competitiveness of it all year in Pirelli World Challenge and we thought that doing an endurance race with driver changes and refueling would show the versatility of the car.
“It can be used in a lot of different racing applications. This one’s a little different and we wanted to be able to show potential customers that the car could be entered in any number of types of events.”
While the new car will be built by Hyundai’s motorsports arm in Europe, Herta’s Indianapolis-based team will be the point of contact for North American customer sales while continuing as a customer program themselves.
Herta indicated that having a U.S. operation to handle the needs of the North American market has commercial value for all involved.
“The plan is that we will support it here in the U.S. on the sales and technical support side,” he said.
“We would provide parts support over here so we’d be the point of contact for other customers, which is funny because we’re a customer ourselves of Hyundai Motorsports in Germany.
“We can manage a lot of the U.S. operations for them and also bring value to teams here in the U.S. because we’ll be easily reachable, we don’t have the time change, and we can help diagnose and troubleshoot problems.
“We’re very familiar with the car and its systems now, and we can also provide parts support here in the U.S. We can literally have either at-track support or have parts back in the customer’s hands in 24 hours.
“By being U.S.-based, we have lots of advantages and it allows us to support the program.”
Herta anticipates customer interest in both IMSA and PWC, and noted that the car is available for track day enthusiasts as well.
As for BHA’s program for next year, team staff recently attended the IMSA event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to scope out that series, while interest in PWC remains high.
“We were at the [WeatherTech Raceway] Laguna Seca IMSA round evaluating that series, getting a look at that paddock, and evaluating that opportunity,” Herta said.
“I think it’s something that we’re looking at supporting either as a team or supporting customers in that series. We’re looking at PWC in much the same way.
“Right now it’s very possible we could race in either or both of those championships as a team next year.
“It will somewhat be dependent too on if we have multiple customers and they want to race in one championship or the other. We’re going to want to support where the other Hyundai customers cars are racing.”