The 17th running of the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance is fast approaching, and teams are in the final stages of preparation for the race.
2018 E2 winner HQ Autosport is partnering with Team Shift Up Now to run a five-driver team at this year’s race. Team Shift Up now debuted with an all-women-driver lineup at the 2018 event. In 2019, HQ Autosport’s driver lineup will feature NASA Rocky Mountain racer Loni Unser, MX-5 Cup driver Sarah Montgomery, TA2 driver Michele Abbate in addition to HQ Autosport team drivers Pete Engels and Travis Weltzien.
The team is competing in the 25 and the 12-hour race that runs within it.
“It’s our belief that preparing for the 25 is one of the keys to the race. You make your luck in many cases by how you prepare for this race,” said team owner Paul Quattrocchi. “Our prep for this year’s race started on the trip back from last year’s race. With the exception of some moves we made prior to the rules change, every move we have made has been toward improving our race package for this year’s 25.
“All of the WERC series season races help us test the car and refine our upgrades,” he continued. “We add in a couple test days for testing the car and for testing new drivers. We have upgraded all the equipment supporting our team, including an enclosed trailer, tow vehicles and a new track side support UTV. We are finalizing some minor mechanical work on the car, updating our graphics package and loading on Thanksgiving weekend. So to answer your question about what we are doing to prepare for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill – not that much.”
Another E2 team, Team Toyota Arizona Proving Grounds has been campaigning its Toyota 86 all year in the Western Endurance Racing Championship series. The team has notched two wins in E2 and one in E1 at Utah Motorsports Campus in August, but they are focused hard on preparing for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“After a very successful WERC season — three wins in three races — and nearly 25 hours of run time on the car, we’re rebuilding/replacing nearly every wear item: engine, transmission, brakes, differential, half-shafts, etc.,” said D.J. Quint, team manager and an engineer at Toyota’s Arizona Proving Grounds. “Operationally, last year was our rookie year as a team at the 25, so the majority of our members were experiencing everything for the first time. Now having eight guys with 25 Hour experience is paying dividends in everything from car prep, to paddock planning, to race strategy. We’re excited to put our experience and preparation to the test!”
Teams move in and begin setting up Wednesday, Dec. 4 and qualifying begins Dec. 6.