El Diablo Motorsports is no stranger to the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. In fact, the team won E0 in 2014 and 2012. For the 2015 race, the team went with a different car. Gone was the familiar E36 coupe. In its place was a four-door E46 that pro driver James Clay campaigned in World Challenge about 10 years ago.
El Diablo qualified in the top spot, but didn’t keep it for long after the race began. The team hovered in second and third place for the first half of the race. Then about 2 a.m., just as the rain started coming down in buckets, El Diablo took the lead and held it till the end, despite having major issues with a fogged windshield.
“Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we made some really tough calls that worked out well with the rain, and we had absolutely no mechanical issues,” said driver James Clay. “The defroster on the other hand was a bit tricky. We couldn’t see for about six hours. You could see reflectors at night and if you knew which side of the reflectors you were supposed to be on you just kind of go for that.”
Team Edge Motorworks, which also has considerable experience at the 25, including podium finishes, added “Last Minute” to its team name because it built the car it raced at the 25 in late November. Team Edge vacillated from just out of the top three to second place as the race progressed, but it too found its way to second place in the dead of night and held on till the end.
“Unfortunately we had a differential swap that cost us, probably the win, but not too bad for a car that was prepped in two weeks before the race,” said driver Anthony Zwain. “It had no engine, no drivetrain. We completely redid the suspension. It was basically a rolling chassis with shocks on it. These guys worked all day and all night for two weeks to get the car ready.”
Team Roadshagger Racing got a taste of leading its class a couple of times throughout the 25, but in the end, the rain brought enough difficulties to relegate the team to a third-place finish.
“It was very, very difficult to see out there, so we had a couple of incidents, so, yeah, it was in some instances, petrifying,” said driver Gavin Ernstone. “We had absolutely no mechanical issues for the entire 25 hours. We lost a splitter somewhere out there and we had a couple of electrical issues from the ECU, and that’s really what cost us.”