The 25 Hours of Thunderhill Presented by Hawk Performance giveth as much as it taketh away.
A prime example came Sunday morning when the overall leader, Team Crowdstrike/Mosaic Motorsports, broke a right rear axle on its LMP3 car, and had to be towed into the pits. That happened right before a scheduled full-course caution to change corner workers. Had the axle broken during the yellow, the car could be pulled into the pits, but no work could begin on it till the double-yellow had ended. The good luck on timing meant that Team Crowdstrike/Mosaic Motorsports could get right to work on the car and rejoin the field before the track went green again.
The timing also meant that Team One Motorsports 2 was contained behind the pace car, and it was only able to go a few laps up on Team Crowdstrike/Mosaic Motorsports during its repairs. Had the track been green, Team One Motorsports 2 would have been able to put a bigger gap on the faster LMP3 car.
“We got lucky, but unlucky. The (LMP3) car went behind the wall for broken axle, but they went behind right as the yellow flag came out for the track worker change,” said crew manager Cameron Rodriguez. “We could have gained more laps, but luckily we came away with four or five.”
Team One Motorsport 2’s Radical SR3 chassis often requires an engine change in the wee hours of the night, but because the race was delayed due to fog, the car had yet to suffer any mechanical problems, and the closing hours of the race are no time to have something like that happen.
“I’m still nervous because hour 11, 12 is when the car usually breaks in the middle of the night, and we haven’t quite made it to that time yet,” Rodriguez said.
Second-place ES Team Stratus Racing had gotten to within seven laps of leader Team Lowe Group Racing by 6 a.m., but by the time the 8 o’clock hour rolled around, Team Lowe Group Racing had added a lap to its lead. The sun is up, the fog is gone and shows no signs of returning, so it’s a sprint to the three o’clock finish this afternoon.
Of course, the Team Spoon Sports would not want to make any such pronouncements to jinx anything, but they have been in the lead of the E0 class since hour three and they have continued to show steady progress throughout the race in adding to their lead. At hour three, their lead was one lap. By hour six, it was seven laps. Sunday morning at 6 a.m. showed them nine laps up, and by 8 o’clock Sunday morning, their lead held steady at nine laps.
Funduro Racing still holds a commanding 35-lap lead, but Tazio Ottis Racing has shaved nine laps since the race restarted at 5 a.m. The Honda Racing THRW has one of its two cars left on track, but has substantial ground to close.
The MooreWood Creative White team knows a lot can happen before the checkered flag drops today on the 25 Hours of Thunderhill Presented by Hawk Performance, but they like where they stand at 8 a.m. with the lead in class and sixth overall.
“It’s going to come down to the last hour, figuring out where the field strategies land and how we go from there,” said team manager Justin Ross.
Five cars were within six laps of each other after 8 a.m., three hours after the restart. MooreWood Creative White was up by four laps, but Team Slipstream Performance and Team FRASUN are keeping the heat on.
Ross said the team used the downtime to sleep and relax, something he’s never experienced at 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“It’s a nine-hour sprint race that allowed me to get my team dinner at a normal time. We all got to sleep at a normal time,” Ross said. “I don’t have to worry about sleep sense, crew interchanges and everything. Everybody’s up here is awake, ready to go and we’re just going to try to run it to the end from here.”
Silver Fern Racing and Hugo Parker LLP Racing figure to be in a dogfight in the final hour today with nine laps separating the two Mazda Miatas. Hugo Parker has shaved three laps since the restart, posting its fastest time (2:08.275) on lap 202.
Team Pink BMW with Three Fast Drivers and One Porsche Driver continued to hold its position in the top spot in E3S, which it has held since hour three. Its nearest competitor, Team Jersey Boys + One had gotten within one lap of Team Pink BMW by 6 a.m., but by the 8 o’clock hour they had dropped back to a two-lap deficit. Team Lesher Motorsports continues in third place in E3S, just four laps back.
Passing 200 laps after the 8 a.m. hour, the all-electric Team Entropy Racing EVSR is on a historic run. Not only has the EVSR car never run longer than six hours consecutively, but it also would be the first all-electric vehicle to compete and complete the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. It was running in 30th overall at 8 a.m.