Funduro Racing had to repair a loose seat early into the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, which put the team in last place. The team quickly overcame the equipment problem and went on to win the E1 class by 46 laps over second-place finisher Tazio Ottis Racing.
“We had a couple of speed bumps, but nothing fundamental,” said Nicolas De Keijser, team owner. “You know, it wouldn’t be a 25 Hours without it being a little bit off the hook, right?”
De Keijser credits the crew for overcoming the early adversity, which he believed set the tone for the race. The team had two 10-minute stops, but the Funduro Roadster never left pit lane.
“I don’t know if anyone puts race seats in cars, but I’ve never done it in 10 minutes at the shop,” De Keijser said. “They did it in 10 minutes in the pit lane. That was so spectacular.”
Team Tazio Ottis took the E3 class win in an old-school Honda Civic in 2019. This year, they upgraded to a 2020 Honda Civic and bumped up to the E1 class, but their second-place finish didn’t come easily. Early in the race, they broke a couple of motor mounts while running in first place. They welded them up at DIG Motorsports’ shop, which is on the premises at Thunderhill. That got them running again, but their troubles were far from over.
“Then we were able to get back in it. Then the fog happened, and then we stopped,” said driver Daniel Wu. “We got back going again. And then the final 20 minutes. Well, actually early on, fourth gear went out. So we were cruising in fifth gear, for like three hours. And then the last 24 minutes, we broke a differential case, cracked and dumped oil everywhere. So we didn’t finish, but we finished in second.”
Team Honda Racing THRW brought two cars, two brand-new 2022 Honda Civics that have only been available at dealerships for a month or so. Both cars suffered mechanical troubles that caused the team to park them, but they were able re-enter in the closing laps to take the checkered flag. In fairness, there have been other teams that have brought brand-new cars to the 25, but that is never a guarantee of success. According to team manager and driver Lawrence Hwang, the team used the event to help further development of the cars.
“So the new chassis is actually similar to the previous one. However, there’s quite a bit of improvement on the car. For example, the car is a little bit wider and track … and it’s really, really stable,” Hwang said. “So if it wasn’t for, you know, the how new the car is, we would be able to probably spend a little bit more time developing the drive train. Right now, it’s a huge unknown even for ourselves.”