The E2 class is in something of a lull in terms of participation. Heading into the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, there was only one car registered. On race day, two E3 cars moved to the E2 field to fill it in a bit.
Team HQ Autosport had taken three WERC wins in 2018 and one second-place finish in 2018, earning the points championship, so they were the team to beat at Thunderhill. The team developed their car specifically for E2, so they looked good going in.
They looked good coming out, too, because they took the E2 class win by notching 67 more laps than the second-place team. Team principal Rob Henretta put together a team of drivers who had been entering the 25 for nearly a decade, and some who’d never entered before.
“Some people say, ‘It’s only an E2 car,’ but we turned 644 laps and finished P15 overall,” Henretta said afterward. “It was a great result. We had one stud that broke during a tire change. We had another that backed out during a tire change. We replaced two studs over the course of the race. I think we added a quart of oil, and we put a lot of gas in it. It’s a great car.”
Taking second place was Team Shift Up Now in a BMW E30. The team of all women and one girl driver was taking on its first 25 Hour. Team principal Lynn Kehoe put two Shift Up Now teams together, drove in the race, inspired another all-women’s team, and took second place in E2. Kehoe enlisted the help of 25 Hour veteran Karen Salvaggio, who drove cleanup to finish the race.
“When we first put this together, Lynn wanted to know if I’d help her, and when we talked about how you win endurance races, it’s only three words: Don’t come in,” Salvaggio said after the race. “So, when the driver calls in saying she has a vibration, we ask are you on fire? No. Are you in fear of your life? No. Then you stay out there.
“And that’s what we did,” she added. “Ashley came in at the end and I went out to finish and Amy on the radio kept saying, ‘You got this. Keep it out there.’”
Taking third of the three-car field, Team Kiwi Racing’s Mazda Miata completed 55 laps before retiring on Saturday.