As darkness set in Saturday at NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance, the drivers got ready to spend the next 12 hours running the road course following their headlights.
Heading into the night racing, Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports was the overall the overall leader as of 5 pm PST. Fifty-two cars started the race and just 45 cars remain.
“We’re running our race,” said Scott Jasmund, data engineer for the Audi R8LMS racecar. “Every year we do this, we just go out and run our race, pound at laps and stay out of trouble and not get any penalties.”
The current standings can be found here.
Here’s a look at the class leaders on Saturday at 5 pm:
Rearden Racing Team 1 continues to lead the 19-car E0 field and hopes to maintain the lead during a long night of racing.
“It’s about being safe and it’s about being consistent,” said crew chief Rhett Longman. “Take it easy and realize you’re not going to win the race at night. You’ve got to get through it.”
Getting better fuel economy than anticipated and with an ultimate lighting setup on the on the BMW 330i, Team MoreWood Racing is full speed ahead racing into the night.
“We’re plugging in the laps,” said driver Justin Ross. “Our fuel mileage is better than we expected it to be, so it’s letting us go a bit longer.”
Just a lap separated Team MoreWood Racing and second-place challenger Trim-Tex Racing.
Team KD Motorsports took over the lead for the class, thanks to good fuel economy and sharp driving. Their car’s engine is as strong as last year when they won E2, and the team has built up a two-lap class lead.
“We’re keeping our heads down and staying clean,” said crew chief David Stenner. “Even though we’ve been racing six hours, it’s still early and anything can happen.”
Team RAmotorsports40 has held the E3 lead for six hours and hopes to add to it during the night.
“We’re in it for the long haul,” said crew chief Steve Holifield. “This is a long race. A little over six hours in and we know a lot can happen in the remaining 18 1/2 hours.”
The team has had no mechanical issues and, as Holifield says, “We hope to keep it that way.”
Having climbed to the top so far at NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8LMS already had three laps of separation from Calvert Dynamics/Competition Motorsports.
More than 180 laps into the race, Team Ryno Racing Team 2 looked like it was starting to take control of the ESR class. But as any of the drivers and crews will tell you, anything can happen before noon Sunday.
“We’re banking on the long game now,” said Ryno Racing driver Bryan Carpenter. “The approach is to be smooth, safe. Other guys start fading on the track as the race goes on. The goal is not to get hit.”
With their sights on winning NASA’s 25 Hour of Thunderhill, the Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche climbed up to the top eight with designs on moving up the ladder during the night.
The team is moving to double shifts for the drivers and only changing tires when switching out drivers.
“The biggest (challenge) is we’ve never run this car here,” said team manager Thomas Blam. “For qualifying, he didn’t have all the light systems available. We’ve made some changes so it should work out.”