Top Five Finish For Taylor Hagler at VIR
Returning to VIRginia International Raceway, Taylor Hagler concluded the third to last IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge round with a top five finish in the No. 1 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR.
VIR holds special meaning for the two-time IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR Champion. Last season, Hagler reigned supreme as she stood on the top step of the podium at the rural Virginia racecourse for her second IMSA win and fifth career victory.
The weekend at VIR started off slow for the No. 1 BHA squad as they battled technical issues through the practice sessions limiting Hagler’s track time to just seven laps ahead of the green flag.
Tasked with qualifying duties, teammate Michael Lewis put the No. 1 Hyundai on the first row just five-tenths behind the first place qualifier. As the green flag flew, Lewis quickly progressed to the top running spot as the field of GS and TCR entries battled through the opening lap. Lewis swapped the lead back and forth with the sister No. 33 BHA Hyundai for the first hour of the race, but held the lead as a full course caution appeared at the halfway mark.
Lewis brought the No. 1 Hyundai to pit lane with one hour remaining on the race clock to hand over control to Hagler. Hagler returned to the course in eighth as the field returned to green flag racing, but received a drive through penalty on her return to course. Hagler settled in and pushed her Hyundai machine, closing the gap to the field in front. At the eight-minute remaining mark, a late full course caution appeared, stacking up the field for a sprint to the finish.
As the green/white flag appeared with just one minute remaining on the race clock, Hagler went to work utilizing the close pack racing to gain a position on the restart and continued that pace with a mega pass into the infamous “Hog Pen” to pass her TCR competitors and gain two positions. Hagler brought the No. 1 Bryan Herta Autosport home to the checkered flag in fifth.
To cap off the month of August, Hagler returns to GT4 European Series competition in Hockenheim, Germany at the HockenheimRing. Hagler will transition to the sister W&S Motorsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS for the remaining two race rounds at Hockenheim and Barcelona.
Taylor Hagler, No. 1 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR:
“It was a positive day for us and the Bryan Herta Autosport team today. Michael (Lewis) and I had a solid and clean race and made forward strides in both of our stints. The late race yellow really evened the playing field and allowed me to make some big moves to finish in the top five today. I am looking forward to getting back to Europe and continuing the work I have been doing over there. Hockenheim is a legendary track and I’m excited to get there.”