The answer in racing is often as simple as “more motor.” Other times not so much, which was the case in ESR at the 2017 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The two ESR cars with the most motor, the two Ginetta G57 prototypes of Team Ryno Racing, had the biggest engines in the class, and they led the class and overall till 4 a.m. Sunday, when they fell out of the class and overall lead.
This year, Team Crowd Strike/One Motorsports brought two Suzuki Hayabusa-powered Radicals, one with less motor and one with more. The team usually brings plenty of spare engines because historically, they usually have to replace one during the night. That was true for the No. 67 1,500-cc car, but the No. 44 1,340-cc car kept on chugging through the night, and when Ryno Racing dropped off, Team Crowd Strike/One Motorsports went on to take its first class win after years of trying.
“That’s a first for One Motorsports. They’ve never won ESR before and this is the first year they’ve done it in a Radical,” said driver Kenton Koch, who pointed out that they did have some charging issues during the night. “We chose to go with the smaller motor this year and it paid off. It lasted the whole time.”
Team Norma’s Last Chance had contact with another car Saturday night and got put back about 42 spots after having led the race in the beginning. The team repaired the car and proceeded to claw back to the front. At 8 a.m. Sunday, the team was sixth overall at and fourth in class. Their luck improved when both Ryno Racing cars dropped out and they ended up finishing second.
“Our bad luck started in the beginning, and I think everybody else’s was at the end,” said driver Phil Fogg Jr. “I think we were off the track for an hour, including the tow time. The guys just did an incredible job getting us back on track.”
When the Ryno cars dropped back, Team Ice 9 Motorsports/Valkyrie Autosport moved into the third spot and held it till the end. The team was entered into ENP, but switched to ESR because it was the lone NASA Prototype.
“We had some mechanical gremlins early on, but just tried to stay consistent and clean, tried to keep it on track and not do anything stupid out there and that seemed like it paid off for us this morning, especially when the Radicals started to go off,” said driver Charlie Streicher. “The two Ginettas got taken out there and we were able to kind of just keep chugging away.”