Six brand-new NP01s made it to the Buttonwillow Raceway Park in April, where their drivers were eager to get the cars on track for an exciting weekend of racing. Many were still finalizing the assembly of the new cars and were hastily checking boxes on their checklists before they could strap in for their first qualifying session together.

Six NP01s gridded up for the inaugural race of the Pacific Championships series race for NASA Prototypes.
Six NP01s gridded up for the inaugural race of the Pacific Championships series race for NASA Prototypes.

At the start of the race on Saturday, Tom Hope and Andy Lee scurried away from the field and had a nose-to-tail battle for the entire race. Hope was never able to get more than a car length on Lee for the length of the race. Meanwhile, Jeremy Croiset thought it would be interesting to use the chassis setup from car No. 00 used for the media day photo shoot to see what happened. Turns out Croiset didn’t like it much, and his lap times were 3 seconds a lap slower than the lead cars.

At the checkered flag, Hope was able to go down in history by being the very first NP01 race winner in the Pacific Championship series! Hope won by a narrow .478 seconds ahead of Lee in second place. Croiset finished third with his media day setup on the car, finishing 36 seconds behind second.

On Sunday, It was evident Lee learned quite a bit from Saturday’s race because he out-qualified Hope by .06 seconds to claim the pole. As a group, the entire field picked up time from Saturday’s race.

As the green flag flew, Lee took command of the race and stretched it out to a 6-second lead in front of Hope at the finish, claiming his first victory of the season and becoming the newest NP01 winner! Croiset tried a new setup on the car, which appeared to work better for him, and it showed in his lap times, and claimed the third spot on the podium.

No. 18 Tom Hope took the inaugural Pacific Championships series NP01 win on Saturday, besting No. 5 Andy Lee by .478 seconds. On Sunday, Lee turned the tables on Hope by taking the win. Jeremy Croiset came in third both days.
No. 18 Tom Hope took the inaugural Pacific Championships series NP01 win on Saturday, besting No. 5 Andy Lee by .478 seconds. On Sunday, Lee turned the tables on Hope by taking the win. Jeremy Croiset came in third both days.

RESULTS

http://timingscoring.drivenasa.com/NASA_California-Southern_Region/2016%20-%20Official%20Results/April%202016%20-%20Buttonwillow%20Raceway%20Final%20Results/

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Image courtesy of Brett Becker