The race format for the third round of the NP01 pacific Series was unique in that they raced for a full hour with the WERC Enduro’s three-hour race Saturday evening, when temperatures still lingered around 100 degrees.
Three of the four NASA Prototypes were on grid and entered the track with the field for the warmup lap. As the green flag flew, Jeremy Croiset entered the track behind the field on cold tires and began his pursuit of the group. The field set a solid pace and it came down to who made the fewest mistakes, and who would save fuel, brakes and tires all the while maintaining a solid race pace.
Francis Hu in the No. 25 Team Speed Racers entry stopped early for a pit stop, which removed him from this fight. Hu continued the race well after the NP01 race was complete and drove the rest of the enduro in some of the most challenging weather of the year.
Meanwhile, Richard Gray, Chad Plavan, Croiset and Mark Abouzeid ran close for most of the race until within minutes to the end of the race, Plavan experienced an overheating fuel pump relay, which slowed his pace dramatically and allowed Abouzeid to get by and take third from Plavan. Gray and Croiset pulled away and Gray took the win, with Croiset close behind in second. Abouzeid finished third.
Sunday’s race format was more familiar to the drivers, with a 35-minute sprint race scheduled. In qualifying Hu and Abouzeid were trading fastest laps for pole until the last lap when Hu was able to run .6 seconds faster than Abouzeid to take pole position for Sunday’s race.
At the start of the race, Plavan joined at the back of the group and the battle was on. Hu skillfully used lapped traffic to his advantage and was able to slightly gap the field. His pace was fast enough to hold off any challenges from Plavan and Abouzeid and claimed his first win of the season! Plavan finished second and Abouzeid third as the series heads to Utah Motorsports Campus in August.