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Gottsacker Has Waited Two Years To Defend Mid-Ohio Win

Bryan Herta Autosport

Harry Gottsacker practices for the first 4 hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Mid-Ohio (Photo | Stphen Conley: TPF)

LEXINGTON, Ohio — The Michelin Pilot Challenge last made a stop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2022, and Bryan Herta Autosports stood atop the podium. Now the series has returned to the Lexington, Ohio course, only one driver has a shot to defend that title – Harry Gottsacker. The win in 2022, also happened to be Gattsackers last win in the Touring Car (TCR) class.

“We’re extremely hungry (to win again),” Gottsacker said. With five series wins and a championship, he adds, “It is a little weird saying that we haven’t been on the top step of the podium.” Gotsacker and teammate Robert Wickens did win the TCR championship in 2023, all on the benifit of consistency that included six second-place finishes and one third, but lacked a victory.

It is not like Gottsacker has not been close to winning again since he and Parker Chase, his co-driver then, won at Mid-Ohio in 2022. They collected another podium finish before the season ended.

“We’re going to be giving it 100 percent full effort. I feel like we’ve definitely gotten robbed a couple of times, so the racing gods should be on our side. We’ve just got to be able to put the car in a position to win.” said Gottsacker.

Both Gottsacker and Wickens know they can win, they know the talent is in the car, they know the BHA team has the machine to do it. “We’re just gonna have to fight a little harder, dig a little deeper, but it’s coming.” said Gottsacker.

Gottsacker Excited for Challenge

The challenge excites the Byran Herta Autosports driver, but this is not the same course he dominated in 2022, after a repave in the off-season, and unseasonably cooler temperatures for early June, keeping a car at the front of this field for a now four hour race, will not only challenge the drivers, but the car itself.

But, with all those challenges and uncertainties, Gottsacker has a ton of confidence entering the O’Reily Autoparts four hours of Mid-Ohio Challenge. “I think our (ability to manage tire) degradation is definitely our stronger suit compared to some of our competitors,” Gottsacker said. “We can do a really outstanding job of keeping the deg to a minimum. I think that’ll help us even more.” Gottsacker and Wickens will look to end a three race winning streak that the No. 17 Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 driven by Chris Miller and Mickey Taylor have used to vault themselves to the lead of the TCR standings.

Gottsacker knows anything can and typically will impact an endurance race for the Michelin Pilot Challenge, and with a TCR field of 16 cars, then 24 cars in the Grand Sports (GS) class, on a now technical race track that has added a smooth and fast surface, they will really have to focus on experience from 2022. Also in that stacked field are three other Bryan Herta Autosport machines looking to dethrone their teammates.

Those 24 cars in the GS class have yielded three different winners in three different races. The points  at the top of standings for GS are tighter than the lid of a brand new jelly jar, and each driver including Matt Plumb and the No. 46 Team TGM Aston Martin Vantage GT4 who have the tightest grip on the lead. A mere 70 points separates the top five in class.

Plumb will be joined for the third time this season by co-driver Paul Horton. They are 30 points ahead of Michael McCarthy, Riley Dickinson and the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport, winners of the season-opening four-hour race at Daytona International Speedway.

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera. I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO. The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth. Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras. My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports. See you at a track soon

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