Laguna Seca Recap 2022

SALINAS, Calif. – Michael Johnson, Stephen Simpson and the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) team finished in sixth place at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 on Saturday at 

iconic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on the outskirts of Salinas and Monterey, Calif.

“The race at Laguna had its challenges but we managed to have our first top ten of the season,” said Johnson. “Laguna is always a tough track since the grip level is very low. I’m looking forward to continue this momentum at the next race at Mid-Ohio in a couple weeks.”

Behind the wheel of the Universal Coating No. 54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR, Johnson, Simpson and the BHA team also finished in sixth last year at Laguna Seca, when the race was held near the end of the IMSA Pilot Challenge season, in September. 

“Overall, it was a tough race for us again. Michael did a really good job. His qualifying was strong and his pace in the race was really good. I am proud of the improvements he is making.

“We had another issue in the pits unfortunately, which meant we went from fifth or sixth when Michael came in to, I think, 11th. So, that really put us on the back foot. When I got in the car, I really tried to look after my tires to start, knowing that the degradation at Laguna Seca is so high and then had a lot of pace the last 10 laps, so that worked out very nicely. We were in position for potentially a top three. We were in fourth place in the last lap. I think I went from 11th to fourth in about seven or eight laps, which was great. Then on the last lap on the final turn, on the run up to the checkered flag, we had a turbo issue which meant we lost power and lost two positions on the run up to the finish line. That was unfortunate but, nevertheless, the car was good and our engineer, Chris, did a great job for us. It was a tough result but we will learn what we can from it and move on to the next one.”

In two weeks, Johnson, Simpson and the BHA team will get that chance to put those lessons into practice, as they head back to the Midwest for the next installment of the IMSA Pilot Challenge, the Mid-Ohio 120. The two-hour race at the 2.258-mile, 13-corner Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio is scheduled to go green at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 14.