If you enjoy hard-fought endurance racing, E1 was the class to watch at Thunderhill. It has been for a few years now, with E46 BMWs making up six of the class’s 10 entries. Two cars, Team Moorewood Creative and 2018 ART Racing exchanged the lead more times than you have fingers and toes throughout the course of 25 hours.
At each hour mark the lead swapped between Moorewood and ART Racing, with Team Technik/AGM always lurking in third, ready to capitalize on a mistake. Moorewood suffered a wheel stud failure, which dropped them back early in the race, but the team ran this car last year and they knew their fuel and tire strategies well, according to driver Justin Ross. The team mapped out everything and came away with the E0 class win.
“Definitely the data from Fortinet was a huge advantage for us. All the fluids from Ravenol, the car prep from GarageStar and help from Kontrolle Engineering really helped us set up the car well again, and we went out and went lap for lap with these guys,” said driver Larry Moore. “We knew were going to have some competition this year, so we really thought that our pit strategy would come into play, and it did.”
ART Racing’s car didn’t arrive till Friday, so none of the drivers got many laps in it before the race began on Saturday. Other than losing three laps because they were unable to refuel during a caution period and having to change brakes at dawn, the car ran well, with no drivers going off or incidents of contact.
“It was just a really awesome time because we knew all the other people we were competing against,” said driver Natasha Balogh. “We all started in E30s, so it was cool to come up into higher-powered cars and run for 25 hours and just have fun.”
Team Technik/AGM Racing was saving a trick for the final hours that would allow them to skip a fuel stop and maybe stage an end run to move up on the podium. However, a broken shifter Sunday morning set them back and the team didn’t get the chance to see if their strategy would have worked.
“There were a lot of hot rods out there this year, and we did what we could. We held steady on our fuel strategy and it played to us, but some of these cars we didn’t have answers for, and they didn’t put a step wrong, either,” said driver Peter Hopelain. “I wish the piano would have fallen on somebody else this time, but we’ll be back next year.”