The introductions have been made. The launch is official. The learning is underway.
Drivers Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson spent the weekend at Daytona International Speedway getting to know the Bryan Herta Autosports team and familiarizing themselves with the Hyundai Veloster N TCR car, all of which made their 2021 debut as a collective at the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
“Last weekend at the Roar went pretty well,” said Johnson. “I learned a lot from the car and found areas that I still need to work on this weekend. I love the Hyundai Veloster N! The way the car sounds and having a proper gearbox is amazing. Getting more seat time and running with traffic are some areas I need to work on. I am looking forward to the four-hour race on Friday!”
Over the span of the three days, the team took part in five total practice sessions, formally opening action to the 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season. The event serves as a precursor to this weekend’s BMW Endurance Challenge.
“It was great to kick off 2021 and kick off our new adventure with Bryan Herta Autosports and drive the Hyundai Veloster N TCR car,” said Simpson. “It was very much a weekend of getting to know the car and getting to know the team; trying various different things with the car and learning how it reacts.
“It was great working with our new engineer. It will be a learning process but we had instant chemistry with all the guys on the team, which was great. They made us feel very welcome and at home. I can see the potential the car has and understand why they have had so much success. I am looking forward to this coming weekend. 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. Michael did a great job in getting up to speed. I am very positive at the moment and very excited. I am looking forward to the weekend ahead and I think the season is going to a great one.”
The BMW Endurance Challenge, part of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, will go green on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 1:35 p.m. ET at venerable Daytona International Speedway on the northeast Florida coast. The duration of the BMW Endurance Challenge is four hours on the 3.56 mile DIS track. Three practice sessions, starting on Wednesday, and a qualifier on Thursday will precede the race.