Bryan Herta Autosport Expands Its IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Program

BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR's of Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman in action in their first run with their new team.  [Joe Jennings Photo]

BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR’s of Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman in action in their first run with their new team.  [Joe Jennings Photo]

By: Joe Jennings

DAYTONA BEACH – Not only is Bryan Herta Autosport expanding its involvement with Hyundai but the Michelin Pilot Challenge championship team has shuffled its driver line-up. And the team will go from two cars to three, adding Gabby Chaves, the IndyCar rookie-of-the-year in 2015 and rising talent Ryan Norman, who finished fourth in the Indy Lights championship the last two years.

All team drivers will race Hyundai Veloster N TCRs throughout the upcoming year. In addition, BHA builds and services customer cars for Hyundai. At the recent ROAR before the 24, four cars tested with Chaves and Norman having to share rides while their new car was being built.

Said Chaves, “I am really excited about being with BHA and Bryan, who I teamed up with in 2015 to win rookie-of-the-year. At the end of that year, I felt we had some unfinished business to take care of, which makes me happy to be here.”

Chaves is always looking for an Indy Car ride, but has come to realize that it is easier said than done. “Indy is very special for me and I am always looking for opportunities. You have to be ready, but I have also learned that the easiest road may not be the best one, so I am trying to be more than wise about it and only take something that will benefit me,” Chaves said.

Meanwhile, Chaves says he feels at home with BHA, as he knows just about everyone on the team. Bryan and I have kept in touch over the tears and when he had the idea of expanding the team, so we connected, and I told him, ‘I’m in.’”

At a time when team growth seems to be slowing, Herta expresses happiness to be on the upswing side, “Hyundai’s commitment to motorsport is fairly new and their appetite is to continue to grow and to do new things. You will see it more in the future in other models. The expansion is significant and we are happy to be with them.”

With expansion comes challenges but Herta says the biggest thing is to surround yourself with good people, in total, there will be eight Veloster’s racing in America this year. Car construction is booming, and his team has moved into a bigger shop and added staff, which stands at 15 now.

Herta also captains Marco Andretti’s NTT IndyCar Series program. “My role with Andretti Autosport is clearly defined. On weekends I come in and focus on Marco and our strategies along with the commercial side with sponsors,” he said.

With his driver coming off a sluggish year in 2019, Herta believes everyone can have an off year. “We talked over the winter and he’s in a good place. We think we can turn the page this year and are looking forward to St. Pete.”

Herta is looking forward to the new aero screen and the safety factors they yield. “heat and visibility are the biggest challenges,” he stated. “Until we go through its paces in rain and other things, the process will be evolving. Regardless, it is more than a necessity and racers will find ways to overcome issues that crop up. The biggest thing is keeping our divers safe.”

As the IMS Michelin Pilot Challenge opens, BHA looks to be a strong contender again and if their performance at Daytona is an indicator, the team is primed for a banner year.

Note – in the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, the three BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR’s finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

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