It takes a lot to win the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. It requires even more to win it four times in a row. Team Toyo Tires Flying Lizard accomplished just that in 2018, in addition to supporting three other cars. Here’s a good look at the effort it took and some comments from the people who got the job done.
NASA NorCal Spec Miata finished its season with a solid 31-car field for the weekend. With the WERC Enduro on Saturday, it forced a three-race Sunday for Group A. Justin Casey had a solid lead in points and, much to his credit, did not miss a single regional race, including a trip to NASA Championships at COTA in which he finished fifth. But he could not rest the last weekend because of the double-points format, and he finished with solid P3 finishes in two of three races to secure the NorCal Championship. Congratulations to Justin! Unfortunately, the track was experiencing transponder issues so the results on RaceHero are not accurate.
In race one, Roy Fulmer covered the field easily by almost a second, posting a pole position of 1:55.6. The race started with Roy taking the lead by Turn 3 followed closely by Matt Cresci in a Team RAmotorsports car, and Graham
On Saturday, a short qualifying session, red flagged after one lap, scrambled rather than sorted the 20-car field. Jason Ball claimed pole position with a 2:01.430, followed by Matt Gieseke, Rod Walker, Ann Morey and Bob Manker.
At the start, as the field charged down to Turn 1, Yan Dia went down the center briefly making it four-wide entering the turn. Everyone kept it clean and made it through as some of the faster cars moved up through the field. At the end of the first lap, Dia had moved up from P15 to P5 with the rest of the order: Ball P1, Gieseke, P2, Griffith Hawk P3 and Kyle Kimball P4.
Aiden Crouse and Brad Miller also were rapidly moving up from the back. By the end of lap two, Dia had moved up to P2, but went off in Turn 5 and fell back to P8 behind Pat Smith and
Kehoe’s passion for girls’ education led to the formation of Shift Up Now, a female racing team she uses to promote and inspire courage and confidence in girls and young women.
Kehoe put a team of all women drivers together for the 2018 25 Hours of Thunderhill Presented by Hawk Performance, and did so probably later than one should. The response was so great, she not only was able to field one car, but she attracted enough drivers and support to field two cars under the Shift Up Now banner, her BMW E30 and a Global MX-5 Cup car.
More women drove at the 2018 25 Hours of Thunderhill than any other year. Three teams of all women drivers got together for a photo before the race began. From left: Shea Holbrook, Karen Salvaggio, Erin Vogel, Stephanie Cemo, Christina Nielsen, Ashton Harrison, Aurora Straus, Pippa Mann, Lynn Kehoe, Amy Dilks, Mandy McGee,
Qualifying proved to be a busy task with more than eight classes grouped together on Saturday. The top four qualifiers were separated by a second each, yet Andrew Clark posted the fastest lap of the session, claiming pole position with a 2:03.769, a time that was almost 2 full seconds faster than the 2016 lap record of 2:05.559 set by Michael Mihld. Steve Stepanian secured the outside pole position. Next on the grid was a newcomer to the Spec E30 group, however nowhere near new to racing. After taking only a few laps, Mickey Miller showed he brought his A game by capturing third starting position with cagey veteran Sean Aron on his outside for the start of Saturday’s race.
At the drop of the green, Clark, Stepanian and Miller gapped the field and found their own rhythm for a majority of the race. Stepanian led though the first half of
Last year the big news from the 25 Hours of Thunderhill was how the Flying Lizard team had won overall and class for the third year in a row. What didn’t get as much press, yet merits as much respect, is that Team RA Motorsports also won the E3 class for the third consecutive year.
The big news this year is that Team Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard won overall and class for the fourth year in a row. Not to be outdone, Team RA Motorsports also won E3 for the fourth time in as many years. Of course, it wasn’t as easy as they made it look. It was a hard slog hour after hour, complete with lead changes among four teams, body contact and penalties. Team owner Ron Gayman was too busy with team duties to keep track of the action on track.
“In all honesty, with the four cars, I actually
Team Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Takes Fourth Consecutive ES and Overall Win at 2018 NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill
In years past, the Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard team made taking the overall win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill look easy, particularly in 2017 when the team led nearly the whole race and won by six laps.
Of course, we know it’s never easy to win the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and this year was especially brutal for the three-time winning team. About 30 minutes into the race, the Flying Lizard Porsche RSR suffered a left rear axle failure, which took the team 25 minutes to repair. The team returned to competition in 41st place of 47 cars that started the race.
The Flying Lizard team faced a 13-lap gap to race leader One Motorsports/Radical/Hankook. The Porsche’s gearbox also wasn’t optimal, with upshifting and downshifting issues in most of the gears used at Thunderhill. Then, at 2 o’clock in the morning, the right rear axle failed. The team fixed that and got
One Motorsport has been a fixture at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill ever since Speed News has been covering it, since 2013. The team’s Radical sports racers are typically one of the fastest cars on track. The trick is getting them to last and keeping them out of incidents with larger, heavier production-based racecars. The team has been advancing on all fronts each time they take on the 25.
This year, the speed was there. The team started one car from P2 and a sister car from P4, behind another Radical and a Norma. The No. 44 car led the race for 16 hours, ahead of pole sitter Turn 3 Motorsport and the three-time winner Flying Lizard, but early Sunday morning, shortly after the sun rose, the No. 44 came into the pits with a brake problem. Heat had melted the seals in the right rear caliper. The team fixed it
Team Moorewood Creative Edges out Team ART Racing for the E1 Class Win at 2018 NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill
If you enjoy hard-fought endurance racing, E1 was the class to watch at Thunderhill. It has been for a few years now, with E46 BMWs making up six of the class’s 10 entries. Two cars, Team Moorewood Creative and 2018 ART Racing exchanged the lead more times than you have fingers and toes throughout the course of 25 hours.
At each hour mark the lead swapped between Moorewood and ART Racing, with Team Technik/AGM always lurking in third, ready to capitalize on a mistake. Moorewood suffered a wheel stud failure, which dropped them back early in the race, but the team ran this car last year and they knew their fuel and tire strategies well, according to driver Justin Ross. The team mapped out everything and came away with the E0 class win.
“Definitely the data from Fortinet was a huge advantage for us. All the fluids from Ravenol, the car prep