Any number of car companies have been strongly associated with racing, especially on road courses, for nearly their entire existence. The august brands of Ferrari, Jaguar and Audi (it was Auto Union back in the 1930s) come immediately to mind. And it looks increasingly like another manufacturer’s looking to claim some of that victory gold. It’s Hyundai. Yes, we said Hyundai. No, it’s not a typo or the weird result of some kind of uncontrolled free association.
Instead, it’s the result of a new alliance between the South Korean industrial powerhouse and an established American race team best known for its distinguished accomplishments in Indy cars. Hyundai has teamed up with Bryan Herta Autosport, whose namesake owner has won the Indianapolis 500 as a team boss and had his own career in the hot seat of those wheeled missiles. Running factory-backed Veloster N TCR coupes in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series, BHR notched a win last weekend in only its third outing paired with Hyundai, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It was Hyundai’s first victory in IMSA competition. The winning race-bred Veloster was shared by co-drivers Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins. After a mid-race driver change, Lewis outdueled spirited teams from Honda and Audi to claim the victory. IMSA was sufficiently impressed to award BHM the Forgeline Spirit of the Race Award. You can watch this piece of Hyundai history when NBCSN televises the race this coming Saturday at 11 p.m. EST. Think we’ll see a Sonata running in NASCAR someday? To learn more about this landmark win, check out the team website.