Consistency was the theme for the weekend for the Pink BMW with 3 Fast Drivers & a Porsche Driver team, earning team owner Neal Daly his first 25 Hours of Thunderhill title in four attempts.
“It was just consistency with the car, the pit crew and us, and we were consistently going for it,” said Daly, who assembled and ran the team for the first time.
The bright pink BMW 325i had an axle that was about to fail, but the team managed the car along to finish three laps better than second-place finisher Black Swan Search. Pink BMW’s fastest lap was after the restart with a 2:09:628 time on lap 306.
“This race exposes your preparation in every way, and for two days we did half days for the car and the second half of the day was for our crew to practice on the car,” Daly said. “We were here doing tires and fuel, draining the fuel over and over again, so they were prepared.”
The Pink BMW team had their hands full with Black Swan Search, which was campaigning a similar Spec E30 car. Black Swan started from first on grid and by six hours into the race, they had dropped to fourth in class, which is where they were at 6 a.m. Sunday morning shortly after the race resumed after the fog delay. Two hours later, they had advanced to third and held it till 11 a.m. By the time checkers flew, they had moved up to second.
Team Black Swan Search enjoyed a friendly rivalry with Team Pink BMW. They began the race from pole position and their fastest lap was 2 seconds faster than that of Pink BMW. Crew chief Ryan Lindsley applauded his team’s determination, but said the fog delay hampered their efforts.
“Yeah, it was an interesting race. It’s a new crew. Nobody here has really worked with each other that much. I mean, I haven’t worked with anybody on this team except for two people or three people. It was a good collective effort,” Lindsley said. “I wish we would have had the eight hours through the night, because if we had the night racing, it would have been a different story this morning, I think. But ultimately the team showed up well and everybody did a great job, and we did the best we could on track. And we got a great result, finishing second.
Team Lesher Motorsports competed in this year’s 25 using only two drivers. The team took the grid third in class, and never dropped below fourth, where they were running at 11 a.m. Sunday morning. However, they clawed their way forward to finish third when the checkers flew at a delayed 3 p.m.
“It’s been a wonderful event. The car was delightful. We had a nice balance. We didn’t have power compared to our competitors, but we had chassis. So it was significantly challenging, but we had good pit stops by our crew,” said driver Mark Hamilton Peters. “It was foggy enough that you would not have driven a road car in it. It was that murky.
“It came at the same time as the crew rotation, so we were under full course caution when it became undriveable, but we wouldn’t have stayed out as long had it not been for the full course caution. I think we were all just following the tail lights in front of us. It was that bad seeing across the track, much less down it,” Peters continued. “So I wholeheartedly concur with the stewards decision to stop when they did. It really would have been unsafe. I’m as brave as they get, but you can’t see what you can’t see. Someone could spin and I would have gone full throttle into them with zero warning and that’s just not nice. So, they pushed as long as they could. And when we restarted it was still dicey, but it was very much within the realm of what proper endurance racing should be, be it Daytona or Le Mans.
“Weather conditions are part of the challenge. We all want to roll up our sleeves and enjoy that challenge and rise to that occasion,” he concluded. “We had the chance to do that as the fog rolled through later, but it wasn’t ever seriously perilous the way it was when they stopped.”