The Roar Before the Rolex 24

The No. 77 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR driven by Ryan Eversley and Taylor Hagler turns laps during the Roar Before the 24 Test Session.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It’s 2020 and Atlanta native Ryan Eversley has moved from Honda America Race Team to L.A. Honda World but throughout it all, the shining personality in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge garage, embraced everything.

Eversley wasn’t linked in a move from HART at the end of 2019 but it came partially due to a contract he has with Honda Performance Development. But he didn’t rule out a potential return to HART who is running a partial schedule in 2020.

“I’m not, not with HART anymore, that’s the thing I want to say,” Eversley assured while standing near his LA World team. “HART and I, Chad Gilsinger and I talk all the time and the first thing I said was I had this opportunity and come here and it’s a full season deal. I know HART is running a partial schedule and Chad’s response was, as soon as we get something together that we can do with you — you’re going to be with us. And that’s how I feel with those guys. Love them to bits but I have to be in a full-time ride per my contract with HPD.”

Over at L.A. Honda World Racing, Eversley has a new role mentoring rising 24-year old star Taylor Hagler, his co-driver. But he already knew who she was because he was contacted by Taylor early last year, to put something together for 2020, he couldn’t wait.

“She’s really fast and has a great future ahead of her and is fun to be around,” Eversley said of his co-driver. “To me, it’s been a while since I last had to coach a teammate. Chad was so self-sufficient and with Taylor, we’re going to build her up to be an amazing racecar driver this year so it’s one of those things where I know the car extremely well, it’ll be my third year of racing it. I know exactly what to do to make it go fast but this team has three cars, lots of engineers.”

The new team has several staff members that are fulltime as well. That’s unlike the HART team that has a lot of full-time engineering group that works at Honda and has a race car on the side.

“This is a full-time race car team that has full-time race car employees,” Eversley said. “But I think we’re going to have a great year and the car is proven. It’s going to be good.”

Add in the fact that Eversley is not a new driver to the fold, he’s chasing another championship title. Eversley won a title in 2018 but missed the mark in 2019, finishing 12th overall but faced trouble from the outset, however, he’s looking forward to getting back in championship form and producing a strong result with L.A. World.

But the competition is something he’ll have to look at. The Hyundai’s are back and won the title in 2019, but he’s still happy to know he beat them in 2018. However, he’s still giving the competition their props for what they’ve accomplished in such a short time.

“That program’s amazing, Bryan Herta Autosport is an Indycar team, kinda similar to what’ve got going on over here, that’s all that team came from,” Eversley said. “You’ve gotta look at they’re a factory team and I don’t care what IMSA or whoever wants to say about it — that’s a factory team. So they’ve got three cars now and they don’t have anybody that’s trying to learn how to drive. But, it really comes down to getting the result. L.A Honda World had some mechanical troubles they shouldn’t have and we have to get the best out of the car. Every time they had a problem, the Hyundai was there for the podium and take advantage of the points.

“I’m not afraid of anybody in this class on the planet, but it’s all about being there and executing,” he continued. “And that’s something that the driver doesn’t always have the control of.”

Sports Editor

Graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015. Been with the Henry Herald and Clayton News in two capacities as a sports journalist and interim sports editor.

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