Roar preview 2021
A new season. A new era.
Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson will usher in both this weekend when the driving team competes for the first time under the Brian Herta Autosport (BHA) umbrella at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
As part of the recently announced BHA affiliation, Johnson and Simpson will debut a new vehicle at Daytona, the No. 54 Universal Coating Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Widely considered to be the premier car racing in the class, the team’s Veloster is decked out starkly in white and red and features Michael Johnson’s signature logo above the rear tire.
“I am very excited to be here at Daytona for the Roar running with Bryan Herta Autosport,” said Johnson. “This team is top caliber, and I really look forward to getting to work with everyone here and to learn this Hyundai Veloster N a lot more in the coming days. So far, this car is amazing to drive, and I think it suits Stephen and my style fantastically.”
The BHA track record in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge is steeped in success. Herta’s drivers and the Hyundai Veloster have dominated the series, winning back-to-back team championships.
The Roar Before the Rolex 24 is a three-day event, running from Friday, Jan. 22-Sunday, Jan. 24, that features five practice sessions (see below for schedule).
The trials are a precursor to and preview of the BMW Endurance Challenge, part of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which will be held in one week, on January 29, at the historic track on the northeast Florida coast. The duration of the BMW Endurance Challenge is four hours on the 3.56 mile DIS track.
Friday, Jan. 22
10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #1 for BMW Endurance Challenge
2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #2 for BMW Endurance Challenge
Saturday, Jan. 23
9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #3 for BMW Endurance Challenge
4:20 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #4 for BMW Endurance Challenge
Sunday, Jan. 24
10:35 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #5 for BMW Endurance Challenge
Johnson and Simpson have had good success at Daytona. In 2019, in qualifying for the BMW Endurance Challenge, Johnson etched his name in record book, breaking the TCR course mark and securing the pole position. Last season, they recorded another podium finish on the hallowed asphalt.
“I am very excited to get the 2021 race season started at the Roar,” said Simpson. “It will be a new challenge with a new race team and a new car. We have quite a few ‘news’ for us this weekend. But I am looking forward to the challenge of the event and for the upcoming season. We have done well at Daytona in the past. Being on the podium last year was great and Michael had a pole position a few years ago as well. We will use the Roar to get familiar with our car and the team and make sure we are prepared for the race the following week.”
The weather is not forecasted to be a major factor for all three days of the event. Temperatures are expected to range from the mid-60s to the low-70s with variable winds 10-14 miles per hour. Rain is a possibility on Sunday morning but chances are set at only 30%.