Under normal circumstances, noon (PST) would mark the finish to the 25 Hours of Thunderhill Presented by Hawk Performance. But this year’s race has been anything but normal.
The promise of clear weather and daytime temperatures in the high 60’s gave way to a heavy fog that settled in just after sunset and shut down racing activity until 5 a.m. Sunday morning. It was still socked in at the time, and the field followed the pace car for about four laps to help dry the fog-sodden track.
As the sun edged over the foothills to the east, the racers began to put in the work to sprint toward the finish, which was moved to 3 p.m. PST. Here’s how the classes were shaping up at noon on Sunday.
ESR: One Motorsports owner Jeff Shafer was little frustrated after his driving stint in which he spun twice because of oil on the track and was nearly in a crash with a fellow ESR competitor driving a Norma.
Despite the incidents, Team One Motorsports 2 was still the overall leader as of noon Sunday at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“There was a lot of hectic stuff that happened out there,” Shafer said. “I had a couple of off-road excursions that time, but the car seems to be good, holding steady.”
One Motorsports will need a strong finish with Crowdstrike/Mosaic Motorsports staying within striking distance. Three laps separated the cars at noon.
“We’re just sticking to the same game plan, which is run the thing until it’s empty and try not to hurt it,” Shafer said.
ES: Team Lowe Group Racing is in good shape to lock up the ES class, knock wood. Running a BMW E3 GTR, Lowe Group Racing has a 30-lap lead on Stratus Racing, the second-place team in the class. The team’s focus now is on finishing in top five overall and was currently sitting in fourth overall as of noon.
E0: Spoon Sports last campaigned a car at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in 2016, but returned this year to celebrate the impending retirement of the company’s founder and President Tatsuru Ichishima. The team is on pace to send Ichishima home with an E0 championship and a top 10 overall finish.
“Anything in terms of an overall position is going to be a bonus right now,” said Jay Tien, team manager for the U.S. operations. “We’re managing our pace to make sure that we can continue to have a comfortable lead.”
Despite a two-lap penalty that was assessed in the pits, Spoon had a 13-lap lead over DIG Motorsports at noon Sunday.
“The team’s doing really well, making sure that the car is as good as it can be when it comes in and leaves our pit,” Tien said. “I think that’s probably pretty crucial to us to be able to still maintain it and get those leads.”
E1: Team Funduro Racing continues to put more distance between itself and Team Tazio Ottis Racing, maintaining a 13-lap gap. When racing resumed Sunday morning, Team Funduro Racing had a nine-lap lead. At the noon hour, Team Funduro Racing had extended that lead by four laps.
E2: The race within the race to watch this afternoon is the E2 class where the top four teams are all within seven laps of one another. The two MooreWood teams are in first and second place in the E2 class, with Team Slipstream Performance and Team Legacy Motorworks, trailing by six and seven laps, respectively.
E3: Team Silver Fern Racing is continuing to log strong lap times, creating a 13-lap lead over Hugo Parker LLP Racing, which also is running a Miata. The goal for Team Silver Fern Racing is to maintain a steady pace and keep the car running until the endurance race ends at approximately 3 p.m.
E3S: Team Pink BMW with 3 Fast Drivers and a Porsche Driver owner Neil Daly figures the E3S class likely will come down to the last lap. It’s hard to argue with him when four of the five teams in the class are within six laps of one another.
Keeping the car running and quick pit stops are the key if Team Pink BMW is going to win, Daly said.
“The guys behind us are taking less pit stops than us, but they’re a little bit slower in their pit stops, so it’s looking like it actually will come down to the last lap,” Daly said. “We made that decision about 30 minutes ago to go balls to the wall because we’re going to have to fuel anyway. We’re going to go for it and see what happens.”
EM: Team Entropy Racing EVSR is still on the track and has logged 258 laps, which is good for 774 miles. The all-electric car is the sole car in the EM class and on a history-making run for the team.