The 25 Hours of Thunderhill kicked off Saturday morning under heavy rains and strong winds, but Turn 3 Motorsport took an advantage of a break in the weather to grab an early overall lead.
The ESR car driven by Peter Dempsey has built a two-lap lead and completed 83 laps on the 3-mile road course. Even with the on-and-off rains, Dempsey posted a best lap speed of 1:58.459. Because of the early rain, lap times were much slower than previous years with good weather. One Motorsports is in second and LaHouse/One Motorsports is third.
Taking advantage of front-wheel drive car in the rain, Honda Racing THRW 2 built up a 9-lap lead turning an impressive 2:12.877 best lap.
The decision facing the team is when to make the switch to rain tires and the team has been studying the track for puddles and checking the forecast.
“Initially it was really slippery. It seems like it was a lot like qualifying last night to start with, but it’s slowly been drying out,” said driver Kevin Boehm. “It’s stopped raining now but it’s not drying very fast, so we’re sticking with rain tires for a little longer. There’s no dry line and as many times you have to pass offline, we have to get in the wet anyways. Basically, trying to use the front-wheel drive to our advantage and keep kind of pulling away from the rear-wheel drive cars while we can.”
Boehm said the front-wheel-drive allows the drivers to be a little more aggressive when accelerating out of turns. “That allows us to get a lot more lap time out of the car when it’s slippery,” he said.
Three hours in, Team MPACT Racing was second and Honda Racing THRWs’ sister car Team Honda Racing THRW 1 was running in third.
The five-team E1 class is closely bunched with just three laps separating the leader FLIR Vision Racing and the fifth-place team in the class, MF Racing. Currently, it’s a dog fight between FLIR Vision Racing and Bullet Performance, which is campaigning a BMW. About a half-lap separate the two teams. Team Funduro Racing was in third.
TAPG Motorsports in a Toyota has built up a two-lap lead over MoreWood Creative. TAPG Motorsports turned a class-best 2:14.098 lap time. Slipstream-racing.com was in third.
With Tazio Ottis Racing Honda and and the Brown/Heyer Mazda the only cars in E3, Tazio Ottis Racing has built a sizeable 10-lap lead three hours into 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Driver Tazio Ottis has turned a best lap of 2:26.051.
In a class stacked with Mazdas, it was a BMW E30 with the early lead. The Steyn Motorsports car built a one-lap lead but gave up the lead when the BMW got stuck in the mud. In second place is A+ Yung and the Restless and Lesher Motorsports in third.
Lowe Group Racing jumped to an early lead in E2, building a two-lap lead over Valkyrie Autosport, which is campaigning two cars this weekend. Even though four cars in ES have recorded best lap times, Lowe Group Racing remained in the lead with Valkyrie Autosport’s 370Z in second and Valkyrie Autosports’s Nissan GT-R in third.
Running an Audi, Flying Lizard Motorsports is leading early but is being chased by Frasun Racing and Precision Driving Tech.