Podium Finish for Taylor Hagler at Sebring
Taylor Hagler added a second IMSA podium finish to her resume after she captured a third place finish in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway on Friday. Hagler and teammate Michael Lewis took on the second round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) in the No. 77 Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) Hyundai Veloster N TCR.
The field was set following a 15-minute qualifying session on Thursday which saw Hagler navigate the 3.74-mile course and post the ninth fastest time of 2:16.609-seconds.
With the Florida sun and light breeze providing ideal track conditions, Hagler took the green flag for the two-hour race. Hagler quickly set her sights ahead as she moved up to eighth in the opening lap. The Hyundai driver found her race rhythm and clicked off laps in the top-ten of the TCR field.
As the race moved into a long green flag run, Hagler began her march up the running order and raced the No. 77 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR up to fourth place before the first and only yellow flag of the race was deployed. Completing the final moments of her stint under yellow before turning the car over to Lewis, Hagler closed out her second race with BHA.
Lewis reentered the track in fourth and pushed the No. 77 Hyundai under green flag conditions to the checkered flag. Lewis closed the gap to the lead TCR pack while also working to save fuel. The experienced young racer moved up to third on lap 41 to claim the final spot on the TCR class podium, going one place better than the duo scored at Daytona.
Lewis brought the No. 77 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR across the finish line in third. The finish is the second IMPC podium for Hagler in six months – her first was scored at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in September 2020.
“The goal during my stint was to keep the car clean and the tires under me”, said Hagler. “The warm weather helped the tires come up to temperature quickly which made all the difference in the amount of grip we had. The Hyundai Veloster N TCR is an amazing racecar that flies around each track and it did just that today.
“It is an amazing feeling to get the podium finish today. Being able to get to the front pack of the TCR field, keep it there, and come home with third place is reassuring to me as a driver that I am more than capable of this result every weekend. Michael (Lewis) is incredibly skilled and a great teammate – I couldn’t be more proud to be working with him and the Bryan Herta Autosport crew. I am ready to keep this momentum going.”
Hagler will return to the No. 77 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR in six weeks when the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge heads to the third stop on the calendar at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, May 15th for the Mid-Ohio 120.