BMW Preview 2021
After a weekend of introductions, to both new teammates and car, Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson and Bryan Herta Autosports will put those mutual lessons learned into official live action when they compete in the 2021 BMW Endurance Challenge at famed Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Fla.
The four-hour race on the 3.56-mile DIS track, which is scheduled to go green on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 1:35 p.m. ET, formally kicks off the 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.
Johnson and Simpson previewed the Daytona International Speedway track in their new Universal Coating No. 54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR car at last weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24, an event which included five practice sessions over the span of three days.
“The Roar was excellent preparation for this weekend,” said Johnson. “I learned a lot about the car and the team. I discovered areas upon which I will need to improve and will focus on those. But it’s easy to see why the Hyundai Veloster N TCR cars have been so successful in recent years. I am excited to race at Daytona again and set the stage for a great season ahead.”
A year ago, Johnson and Simpson opened the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season in successful fashion, racing to a third-place finish at the BMW Endurance Challenge.
The weather should not be a factor on racing conditions, as the forecast is projecting a high temperature of 60 degrees with sunny skies. Winds are expected to be from the north at 10-15 miles per hour.
“I am looking forward to this coming weekend,” said Simpson. “It’s going to be tough, as it’s still the early days of our program and there is a lot of learning to take place. But I am confident we can have a very strong start. I am very positive at the moment and very excited for the weekend ahead. I think the season is going to be a great one.”
Johnson and Simpson will be back in action in the Universal Coating No. 54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR car on Thursday, March 18 for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, the next race on the Michelin Pilot Challenge docket. The two-hour event is held at 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.