With the advent of the E3S class, E3 suffered a lack of attendance this year. Just two cars took the green flag and one of them was Team Brown/Heyer, which parks its car when it gets dark, heads to town for a nice hot meal and a warm bed, then returns when the sun comes up again.
That left Team Tazio Ottis to survive to take the top step on the podium, and they did just that, with nary a moment to spare. With smoke coming out of the exhaust and the radiator about to give way, driver and owner Tazio Ottis nursed the Honda Civic Hatchback across the finish line to clinch the E3 class over second-place finisher Brown/Heyer.
Ottis said the car started burning oil in hour six and estimates they used 7 gallons of oil during the race. The radiator gave out as Ottis pulled the car into pit row after the race. It had nothing left to give and had the race gone on for one or two laps more, they might not have finished.
“The whole point is we don’t give up. That means a lot to us,” said Ottis, who won his first 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
In all the years Brown/Heyer has been racing at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill using the retire-at-dusk-and-return-at-dawn strategy, it has never come in last, although they came close this year at second to last because they also had mechanical troubles that reduced their lap count.