WILLOWS, Calif. – The 14th edition of the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance was won for the second-straight year by the No. 45 Flying Lizard Audi R8 on Sunday at Thunderhill Raceway Park.
In a dramatic late race twist the dominate No. 57 Ginetta of Ryno Racing came to the pits with a right rear suspension problem at 9:15 a.m., approximately 21+ hours into the race. The No. 45 Audi R8, run by the Flying Lizard team, lurked in the top three all race just waiting for the No. 57 to have a problem.
It was time for the defending race champions to take the overall lead. Darren Law was behind the wheel of the No. 45 when he took the lead with three hours remaining. It was not clear sailing from that point. NASA officials parked the No. 45 for 15-minutes at 10:20 a.m. for on track contact. The deficit to the second place No. 57 Ginetta was just six laps at the checkered flag.
The No. 45 Audi R8 with Toyo Tires was driven by Darren Law, Mike Hedlund, Johannes van Overbeek and Dion von Moltke and covered 751 laps, approximately 2,103-miles.
“Two in a row,” said Law. “We had some adversity this weekend. I didn’t think we would have gotten the prototype, but they had problems this morning and it worked out. We had that late penalty this morning. We had enough of a lead that it really didn’t matter, but it was an anxious moment. The car ran flawlessly, the Toyo Tires were great and the crew was right on all day. Everything came together. It was also nice to bookend the overall podium with our No. 74 Porsche coming in third place. Unbelievable.”
The No. 57 Ryno Racing Ginetta was able to hold on and take second overall and first in the ESR Class. The No. 57 was driven by Ryan Carpenter, Colin Braun, Parker Chase, Bryan Herta and Colton Herta. The team covered 745 laps.
“It’s a great day for us,” Braun said. “The Ryno Racing guys did great all day. We had a stub axle break on the right rear of both cars this morning. Other than that we ran flawless for the whole race, just tires, gas, oil and a fresh driver. All of the drivers did a great job staying out of trouble. That is the cruelness of this sport. You have to have all of the pieces together. We just didn’t have everything locked down. Both parts broke within 20-minutes of each other. We showed we had a superfast car. The Ginetta guys build a solid car. We showed it can go 25 hours of grueling racing. An impressive testament to the team and the car maker.”
The E0 Class was won by the pole sitting No. 11 Nissan 350Z of Valkyrie Autosport. The car was driven by Andy Lee, Brian Lock, Anan Sharma and Giles Powell and covered 677 laps.
“It went basically according to plan, except for one thing,” Lock said. “We busted a seal in the steering rack around midnight. After leading pretty solidly for the first half of the race the doubts started to creep in. Was the part going to hold out? We were waiting for a catastrophic failure, but it never happened. We must have pumped 10-quarts of oil through that thing. The 350Z is bullet-proof. For our first 25 hour win we are just ecstatic.”