The grid is set for Saturday’s 15th running of the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance as more than 50 cars and 230-some drivers are ready to challenge the unknown, the elements and fatigue.
Championships in seven classes are up for grabs this weekend, with the event attracting past winners and teams who are still looking for their first class win. The twice-around-the-clock-plus-one-hour race starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Team Edge Motorworks is racing for a cause this weekend, helping to raise awareness about cancer. Driver Donny Edwards is recovering from cancer and will be driving during the weekend. The team is raising money for F— Cancer, and fans can donate money and sign the car.
“(Donny) has been through a lot,” said Matt Powers, who qualified the BMW M3 on pole for his group. “The organization has been really helpful to him. It’s more about helping people fight through cancers that are curable or preventable.”
Facing a deep and talented class, the No. 70 Trim-Tex Racing team earned pole in the six-car class.
“The car is super hooked up. We made massive changes today and came a long way today,” said driver Britt Casey Jr. “We’re on pole by almost 2 seconds right now, so we’re quick. I think it’s our race to lose. We’ve just got to keep it clean for probably about 23 hours and then go for it in the last two.”
With 25 hours of racing ahead of them, for most teams qualifying is about bragging rights. Teams like RDR use it as a final shakedown before the big event.
”Qualifying for an endurance race is kind of your last validation of everything,” said driver Joel Miller. “Before that we had two jack seat adjustments we made. Qualifying is getting the car into the show and validating any last changes, making sure it’s all good, which we did. Checked all the boxes. We’re ready to go racing.”
The CorkSport Performance team wanted to get its drivers the experience of running the track in the dark and it turned out to be the fastest qualifier in E3.
“We’re trying to make sure everybody gets a chance in the car, specifically our drivers who haven’t done a lot of night racing,” said Derrick Ambrose. “We wanted to get them out there and get some laps in. It’s good experience.”
Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports driver Darren Law had the Audi R8LMS flying around the dark course, but running the track is nothing new for the team.
“We’ve done this type of racing for over a decade,” Law said. “This is the first time we’ve run in the night this week, and really, qualifying for us is to go out and run the car hard and make sure everything is working and feels as it should.”
Running a Ginetta G57 for Ryno Racing Team 1, Colin Braun knows he will be passing a lot of cars during the 25-hour race. Braun posted lap speeds more than 9 seconds faster than the other classes to earn pole position for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“It’s enjoyable to come out here and see everyone out here doing their thing and all the crazy cars and different speeds,” Braun said. “We’re so quick compared to so many cars in the race.”
Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports’ second entry in GT Challenge took pole position in that class, with a qualifying lap time of 1:56.387.
Driving the No. 75 Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4 will be Johannes van Overbeek, Mike Hedlund, Craig Watkins and Ross Thompson.