NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance got underway Saturday morning with 52 teams competing to win the prestigious endurance race.
Racing on a cold overcast day, the teams started racing at 11 a.m. and will continue through noon Sunday. In addition to an overall winner, seven class titles are up for grabs.
As of 2 p.m. PST Saturday, the overall leader was Team Norma’s Last Chance. The team comprised of drivers Phil Fogg Jr., Steve Fogg, Umberto Milletti and John Black had run nearly 100 laps.
“We’re cautiously optimistic. It’s a long race and we’ve been here a lot of times and not finished,” said team owner and driver Phil Fogg Jr. “We’re not going to get too excited right now.”
The three-hour-mark standings can be found here.
Here’s a look at the class leaders so far:
Rearden Racing Team 1 had the lead in the 19-car EO field, but team owner and driver Lara Tallman acknowledged it may be tough to keep it.
“We have our pro driver in the car right now, so that’s not surprising,” said Tallman of driver Vesko Kozarov. “It will go away, but for now it’s a nice place to be.”
With the team’s drivers well rested, Team MoreWood Racing is prepared to go into the night ready for any contingency.
“It’s consistency. Consistent laps. Everybody working together,” said crew chief Dan Riley. “We’re prepared for a lot of contingencies and hope we don’t have to use it.”
The cooler weather and cloud cover is causing the tires to react differently than expected on the Mazda RX-8, but Team RDR was holding the lead more than three hours into the race.
“Our main competitor is on a fuel economy strategy and we’ve got a rotary engine, so it’s not very fuel efficient in this kind of environment, but we’ll be all right,” said Robert Davis, team manager for RDR.
Working through a few minor issues with the car, RAmotorsports40 is in the lead for its class. The team has already used three drivers, trying to limit their time to 90 minutes, or a tank of gas.
“We just hope fate will allow us to continue,” said crew chief Steve Holifield. “It’s a long race. We’ll see what happens a few hours before the end.”
Running two cars this weekend, the Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports team is among the overall leaders and led the eight-car ES class three hours in.
The team turned a best lap time of 1:43.6 minutes, just 2 seconds off the overall leader.
Running as the overall leader and in front of the ESR class, Team Norma’s Last Chance is playing the long game this weekend to win the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“We’re trying to take it easy and trying to tune a motor that survives for 25 hours, so we’ve been very conservative,” said team owner Phil Fogg Jr.
The Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche has pushed into the top 10, and team manager Thomas Blam likes what he sees.
“We’re in the top 10 with our Cayman, which is a little earlier than we thought we would be, but the car is running really good,” Blam said. “We’ll see where we are halfway through the race.”