The Utah Six-Hour Enduro presents a great opportunity for teams to ramp up for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and in July 48 teams took advantage of it. Teams battled through fuel stops and driver changes from 6 p.m. to midnight. Here are the highlights.
One of five NP01s entered in the event and starting from 16th on grid, Team Ice 9 Motorsports won ENP and took second overall, completing 160 laps, just 14 laps off the lead of Team Norma’s Last Chance, one lap ahead of the Team TruSpeed Autosport Porsche GT3. Team Valkyrie 34 came in second in ENP, with Team Ice 9’s No. 1 sister car taking third.
“We ended up winning our class and finishing second overall in our first endurance race of the year, in one of the more difficult endurance races NASA has to offer,” said Team Ice 9 car owner Jeremy Croiset. “This truly is a testament to the NASA Prototype program and the car Élan has put together for us. We’re looking forward to showing more of what this car can do.”
Fresh off a win at Buttonwillow in June, Team Norma’s Last Chance arrived in Utah with the points lead in ESR, and took the class win and the overall victory in the team’s new Norma chassis. Team Diamond Level Motorsports took second of two entries in its NASA Prototype.
The race for the ESR championship is between Norma’s Last Chance and Team Ryno Racing, which scored a win early in the season. Because Team Ryno didn’t compete in Utah, it looks like Team Norma’s Last Chance is in the catbird’s seat for the Championship in ESR.
The race for the ES championship between Team TruSpeed Autosport and Team Prototype Development Group is hot, and the action on track in Utah did nothing to temper the contest. Team TruSpeed had the pace in Utah and was leading late in the race. Then, at just 10 minutes to midnight, the TruSpeed Porsche made an unscheduled pit stop. They got the car back out, but Team Prototype Development Group had gotten within striking distance. With seven minutes to go, the Porsche pulled off track on the last corner before the front straight with a stuck throttle, and was out of the race.
However, there wasn’t enough time left for Team Prototype Development to catch up. When the clock struck midnight, TruSpeed had accumulated 159 laps to Prototype Development’s 158. Team Rearden Racing 2 came in third.
In E0, the largest field at the Utah event, Team Roadshagger Racing was playing catch-up to Team Strom Motorsports 1, who owned the points lead coming into Utah. Both teams showed up ready for battle, but they didn’t count on Team RK Motorsports, which showed good pace at the second round at Buttonwillow in April, but was 30 laps down at the finish.
Team RK Motorsports won E0 at Utah, finishing two laps up on Roadshagger in second and three laps up on Strom in third.
Team GTI racing has won E1 in all three WERC enduros in 2017, so coming into Utah, they were the team to beat. Like the stock market, past performance is no guarantee of future results, so when the checkered flag flew, it was Team TAPG Motorsports in first, with 149 laps counted. In second, Team Ian Lacy Racing was one lap down, followed by Team GTI Racing, also with 148 laps to its credit. Team GTI Racing is still firmly in control of the points race after the Utah event.
Team Neth Racing has been making a concerted effort in WERC in 2017 and it shows because Team Neth has the points lead, with one win and two second-place finishes this year. When the team arrived in Utah, they were outpaced by Team Paul Mitchell, but they had the experience, and won E3 by five laps over 25 Hour veterans Sector Purple Racing in second and six laps over The Brave Little Troesters in third.