Closing in on the last few hours of NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance, the leaderboard is tightening as teams race to the noon finish.
Crowdstrike/One Motorsports led through much of the night, but entered pit lane just after 7 am with mechanical issues. The problem allowed the Porsche from Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard to take the overall lead with One Motorsports/Hankook chasing.
- HQ Autosport Racing continues to dominate the E2 class, building a 36-lap advantage.
- No major issues or crashes overnight and all but a handful of cars continue to race.
- Early morning temperatures dipped below freezing.
This will be the last report until the finish at noon Sunday. Class leaders as of 8 a.m. Sunday:
El Diablo Motorsports crew chief Navid Kahangi’s biggest concern going into the overnight session was preserving the tires. The team was having unusual tire wear on the right front, so the team dialed back the lap speeds to a consistent 2 minutes a lap on the 3-mile track.
Kahangi doesn’t anticipate they’ll need to change tires the remainder of the morning.
“By keeping it at 2 minutes we’ve been able to get the right front from 3.5 hours to almost five hours,” he said. “Our drivers are capable of putting up faster lap times but this (strategy) is working for us.”
Three laps separate El Diablo and second-place DasBoot Motorsports ED.
A tight battle is shaping up in the E1 class between 2018-ART Racing 2 and MoreWood Creative, which are both campaigning a BMW 330i. 2018-ART Racing 2 gave up the lead early Sunday morning but reclaimed and pulled ahead to a four-lap lead.
“We ran well all night, all the drivers did a great job,” said Gary Rubio, crew chief for 2018-ART Racing 2. “Everybody in their stints, no mistakes, everybody did their job.”
The team was contending with a broken splitter, which the team used a tie-strap to hold in place.
Team Moorewood took the lead in E1 shortly after this report was filed.
HQ Autosport Racing continued to build on its lead thanks to no mechanical issues with the BMW 128i.
Team owner Paul Quattrocchi credits the team’s drivers and the Toyo tires they been running on the car.
“The game plan from here is more of the same. We’re focused on getting through the end of the race, making sure we’re turning times that keep us out of trouble. Nobody needs to be a hero,” he said.
The E3 class has had three different leaders, but it’s RA Motorsports that emerged overnight as the leader, pushing their Mazda Miata to a seven-lap lead over second-place runner Team Neth Racing Works.
RA Motorsports had body contact early in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill race then put up fast, consistent laps to take the lead. The team’s best lap was 2:06.203.
“We had some issues early in the race that just kind of set us off our normal pace,” said team owner Ron Gayman. “We’ve just run our own race since then and the guys ahead of us broke or had some issues.”
Despite two broken axles since the start of the endurance race, the Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche RSR was the overall leader as of 8 a.m. The team broke an axle within the opening hour of the race and lost 11 laps to fix the problem. The other broken axle occurred in the overnight hours.
“The car is running great. The car is super reliable and consistent,” said Darren Law, one of the team owners. “We’re just plugging away at the laps, trying to stay out of trouble.”
By the time the sun came up, Team CrowdStrike/One Motorsports had worked its way into the lead with its No. 44 Radical. However, trouble arose when the car came into the pits with melted seals in the right rear caliper. The team rebuilt the caliper right there in the pits, but that meant the overall lead slipped away to the Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Porsche RSR.
The time in the pits also handed the class lead to its sister car, the No. 67 Team One Motorsports Radical Hankook, which was then one lap out of the overall lead with four hours left till checkers.
Team owner Darren Law sees it as an admirable feat if the team’s GT car, an Audi R8, can finish among the top of the overall leaders. As the lone entrant in the GT Challenge, Law said the crew was looking at the bigger picture for this talented team that consists of all women drivers.
“The goal there is to see how far we can get overall,” Law said. “They have GT car a few out of the top positions, which is pretty remarkable.”