What started as a simple idea to have the longest endurance race in the U.S. has taken on a life of its own and, 15 years later, has blossomed into a significant U.S. racing event.
The National Auto Sport Association’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance has not only attracted pro racers, it has also become a proving ground for manufacturers, including Mazda. It was the first race in which the Global MX-5 Cup cars competed, and last year Mazda brought diesel-powered Mazda6s to test in the twice-around-the-clock-plus-one-hour classic. While Mazda has no official presence for the 2017 edition running this weekend, Dec. 2-3, several Mazda teams will be competing, including a couple of previous winners.
The E2 class wins in the last two 25 Hours have gone to the Robert Davis Racing team driving “Kermit,” a green and silver Mazda RX-8. That car has since been retired and the team has a new RX-8. It will be the only rotary-engine-powered entry on grid. Team driver Jeremy Barnes says the team has taken everything it learned from racing “Kermit” over the years and poured all of that knowledge and experience into the new car, which the team has been quietly developing this year.