One could easily argue that Thunderhill is little more than a club race. They'd be right, mind you, but they'd miss the beauty of the event. Thunderhill may be a club race, but it represents so much more: The spirit of the gentleman racer, the soul of endurance racing and the indomitable willpower of the racer. In it's 11th running, it's better than ever, and Rennsport is here to bring you, the Jalopnik reader, every minute of action.
(Live blog posts will be written in ascending order by all of the Rennsport staff and marked with a timestamp in PST. Posts by DannyCatSteve, the V8 Supercar specialist, will be marked with a "D". Posts by Bakkster, the man who actually watches the World Touring Car Championship, will be marked with a "B". Posts by McNewbie, the self-proclaimed "art ninja", will be marked with an "M". Posts by Nobody, your future local news weatherman, will be marked with an "N". Posts by Porsche9146, the Mountain West Conference football specialist and, soon, the on-site man in today's coverage, will be marked with a "P". For live timing and scoring along with a flurry of on-board cameras, visit the event website here. Title photo via Davidson Racing)
11:00, P: Thunderhill's greatest glory is in it's mixture of grassroots ingenuity and truly world class entries. Where else but in this burgeoning legend of a superenduro can you see a twin-engined Mini, a 400 horsepower FWD Audi TT, a dozen home-built sport prototypes, a trio of production Mazda6 diesels and a NASCAR-style tube framed truck race amid a sea of spec Miatas? Where else can you see WTCC world champion Rob Huff get held up by a Mazda RX3? Where else can you see a spectator's WRX turn from transportation to donor car? Nowhere but the small Thunderhill circuit of Willows, California.
Who's the favorite for the overall win this weekend? Well, part of the beauty of the event. The race is so brutal, so unpredictable, that early pace doesn't tell you much. Even prior results won't give you much of a hint, they'll only tell you that Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars are more durable than Radicals and super Miatas. While every Porsche must be considered part of the group one would refer to as "favorites" for the win on sheer build quality alone, these "tortoise" 911s could go down multiple laps early as the less reliable but faster, often home-built, "hares" fly by them.
This year's race is just minutes from kicking off, and I'll be at the track in approximately 3 hours. Until then, enjoy the work of my colleagues at Rennsport and your glimpse into the strange beauty of the 11th USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
11:13, D: The 2013 25 Hours of Thunderhill is underway!
11:15, D: Mike Skeen leads lap one in the Superlite SLC and has a 2 second advantage on the #48 Radical SR3.
11:18, D: The Davidson Racing DR Eagle has taken 2nd place from the Radical. They are about to hit traffic already. The top three are now running nose-to-tail.
11:20, D: The DR Eagle has taken the lead. The Radical takes second and the Superlite goes from first to third! There is a safety car for a car on fire.
11:23, D: In the midst of the battle for the lead, the Superlite has had an issue and dropped to P7. The #00 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup entry is now in third.
11:33, D: After stopping on track during the pace laps, the #52 Wolf GBO8S has made its way back to 2nd in the ESR class. The race is still under safety car.
11:41, D: Nearly half an hour in and the race has restarted following the first safety car period.
11:44, D: The #00 Porsche has overtaken the Radical for 2nd. The Wolf is continuing to tear through the field and is closing on the Radical for the ESR lead.
11:46, D: The Wolf has gone to the ESR lead. He's now made his way around the Eagle for 1st overall! The Factory #48 Radical continues to drop, now in 6th position. Porsches compose positions 3-5.
11:50, D: Traffic is starting to play a role. The #52 Wolf has a three second lead on the Davidson Racing Eagle. The leaders are working lap 16.
11:54, D: The #67 Pure Performance BMW E46 leads the EO class. The #5 Fantasy Junction Acura heads the way in E1. The #35 Miata leads E3.
11:57, D: The DR Eagle has a drama and pulled into pit lane. The #00 Award Motorsports Porsche now leads ES and is 2nd overall.
12:00, D: The Factory 48 Radical, who was battling for the ESR lead early, has made an early stop. It is a quick in-and-out, but still more ground that needs to be made up.
12:04, D: The DR Eagle has been pushed into the paddock. According to the radio broadcast, it has suffered an electrical failure.
12:07, D: Now the Davidson Racing Norma is back in the pits for the fourth time in the first hour.
12:10, D: Rotek Racing's FWD Audi TT RS has gone into third, overtaking the Barrett Racing Porsche.
12:13, D: Running order at the end of the first hour:
12:17, D: Davidson Racing's Norma has just caught fire and stopped on track on the start/finish straight. The fire is out and the driver is still the car.
12:20, D: Correction: The car was not on fire, but suffered an engine failure.
12,22, D: The safety car is now out for the second time to recover the Davidson Norma.
12:24, D: The safety car has worked perfectly for the Rotek Audi and Superlite, allowing them to stay on the lead lap.
12:28, D: Davidson Racing's Eagle has replaced its alternator and is back on track, albeit 17 laps down.
12:31, D: The race has restarted after the second safety car.
12:33, D: The first round of stops is underway, as the #52 Wolf yields the lead and peals off to pit road.
12:37, D: Team Quick Racing's Superlite has passed the TT RS for the ES and overall lead. Both have yet to complete their first stop.
12:48, D: In the lower classes, the El Diablo Motorsports BMW M3 leads in EO; the #34 RDR RX-8 heads E2. The Fantasy Junction Acura leads E1 and the Spare Parts Racing #35 Miata leads E3.
12:52, D: Rotek's Audi is in the lane for its first stop of the day from second.
12:56, D: #00 Porsche has jumped the JFC Racing Wolf for 2nd in the race on the pit cycle.
1:05, D: The #03 Superlite entry has a minute lead over the Ehret Family Porsche in ES and overall, but it has not made its first stop. There is just four seconds seperating the top two in the ESR class.
1:10, D: Third safety car of the race is out.
1:13, D: Running order at the end of hour 2:
1:19, D: The race has restarted.
1:28, D: The Wolf has taken 2nd. The Superlite and the Wolf should be in for stops around the same time.
1:35, D: The Superlite has peeled off for its first stop after two and a half hours.
1:40, D: Superlite has a long stop. The Ehret #00 Porsche is spending the least time in the pits of all the leaders.
1:45, D: Lower class update: The El Diablo M3 leads EO. The #34 Team RDR Mazda RX-8 leads E2. The #56 Mazda Speed Dealers 6 Diesel leads E1. The Spare Parts Miata still is the class of the field in E3.
1:47, D: JFC's Wolf is now in for its second stop from the overall and the ESR lead.
1:50, D: The #00 Porsche is also in for service. Its stop should be completed much faster than the Wolf's.
1:55, D: Factory 48's Radical (ESR) leads the way on lap 81. It has a one lap lead due to the #00's stop.
2:03, D: Al Unser, Jr., two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, has moved the Wolf GBO8S into third over the Rotek Audi TT RS.
2:12, D: The overall leading Radical is in for a stop.
2:14, D: Running order after 3 hours:
2:17, D: Having completed a pit stop, Factory 48 has maintained the lead over the #52 Wolf.
2:22, D: The Heyer/Brown Mazda Miata has lost its wheel and gone off in turn two.
2:24, D: The fourth safety car of the race is out to retrieve the stricken Miata.
2:41, D: El Diablo's M3 still leads in EO. Mazdaspeed Dealers still maintains first in E1 and the RDR RX-8 leads E2. Meanwhile, the Sampson Racing #07 Miata heads the E3 class. The safety car's lights are out, back to green shortly.
2:46, D: Little Al has carved his way to the front of the ESR class and with it the top spot overall! The IndyCar legend is on it.
2:52, D: Unser, Jr. is charging on with the lead, extending the gap on average about ten seconds every lap. The Factory 48 Radical trails by 50 seconds.
2:55, D: Safety car is out again. Several cars went off at turn 3.
3:02, D: The green flag is back out.
3:04, D: The #00 Porsche has taken over 2nd in the overall battle from the Factory 48 Radical.
3:12, D: Running order at the end of the 4th hour:
3:20, D: Al Unser, Jr. has brought in his Wolf GBO8S from P1. He hands over control to his son, Al Unser, III.
3:25, D: The ES class leading #00 Porsche pits before the sixth safety car of the race comes out. The #03 Superlite will jump it and go into 3rd overall and the class lead.
3:27, D: Race restart. "A3" in the Wolf leads on lap 125.
3:30, D: Team Quick Racing's Superlite is serving a stop-and-go penalty for an unknown offence. They were running 3rd overall and leading ES.
3:33, D: Now the #48 Radical which was running 2nd has been dealt a stop and hold penalty, also for an unknown breach of the rules.
3:45, D: El Diablo and their BMW M3 continues to lead in the EO class and the #34 Mazda RX-8 also still leads in E2. The #27 Honda Research West Acura ILX leads E1. The Sampson Racing Miata holds firm in P1 in E3.
3:48, D: The Factory 48 Radical has had to serve what appears to be another penalty. It has fallen to 6th on the timing screen.
3:53, D: Now the race leading #52 Wolf GBO8S has been served with a penalty. It is still unknown what the flurry of stop-and-hold's is for.
4:02, D: The broadcast was mistaken, Little Al did not hand over to his son and is performing a double stint in the #52 Wolf.
4:10: D: Getting closer and closer to sunset. More teams with lights on.
4:20, D: The Wolf still leads overall despite the penalty. The #00 Porsche is running 2nd and leading ES over the Superlite, TruSpeed Porsche, and Rotek Audi.
4:27, D: Position 8 has exchanged hands as the #9 Lexus ISF has overtaken the #38 Radical West Racing RS3. The leader is working lap 157.
4:33, D: The #00 Porsche is in for a pit stop from 2nd position.
4:40, D: The #52 Wolf is in from the lead. Al Unser, Jr. should be getting out of the car.
4:43, D: The #52's stop is long enough to allow the #03 Superlite entry to take over 1st. The Wolf appears to have dramas.
4:46, D: The Wolf has resumed but has fallen down to 4th in the order, still leading ESR by a lap and a half over the Factory 48 Radical.
4:50, D: None of the leads have changed in the other classes in the past hour. It is starting to get much colder as the sun sets. Nearing darkness at Thunderhill!
4:56, D: The GMG Audi R8 has gone off track and will need to be recovered. No safety car.
5:09, D: The Wolf has made its way back to P2 on the road after the long stop.
5:13, D: 6 hours now complete. Here's the top 10:
5:21, D: Superlite leads by two laps over 2nd (JFC Wolf) and 3rd (#00 Porsche) and it is another two laps ahead of the Rotek Audi TT RS in P4.
5:25, D: The Superlite comes in for service from the lead. Lap 184.
5:35, D: The Wolf has seemed to lost pace in a straight line and has been rounded up by the #00 Porsche for P2 overall.
5:43, D: All the lower class leads are the same, with the exception of E3, now led by the #05 949 Racing Mazda Miata.
5:55, D: Nothing has changed. The Superlite still leads over the #00 Porsche in 2nd and the JFC Wolf in 3rd.
6:03, P: Hello from Willows, California! I am here, albeit not at full operating potential. Turns out, Kinja is no the Microsoft Surface's best friend. This will work, though!
6:10, D: The Wolf has come in for a stop. The Factory 48 Radical has gone to the lead in ESR.
6:13, D: The top 10 with 7 hours complete:
6:19, P: Part of what makes this event so special is the sheer length and darkness of the night. The sun was already down when I arrived in Willows at 5:20 and it isn't set to rise again until 7:15 AM. While the similarly long nights at Daytona's legendary 24 hour race are fought by artificial lighting, the track is nothing but dark here.
6:24, P: The safety car is out, seemingly for a flattened tire on a Porsche as of yet unidentified by the fine folks at Endurance Radio. Meanwhile, this behind the wall facing an alternator change. the fastest hare in the field is already 12 laps behind the leader.
6:33, P: There is no question that the Unser-piloted Wolf is fast enough to make up each one of those 12 laps as well as the 15 or so further laps it will lose as the alternartor is replaced. Instead, the question is whether or not it will avoid further dramas.
7:05, P: At the 8 hour mark, the Superlight SLC (Memorable to some as "That weird kit car from that weirder SPEED show "Stacy David's GEARZ"") still leads overall and in the ES class. In P2 overall and in ES is the Ehret Porsche 911, while the Factory 48 Radical leads ESR from P3 overall. Per Thunderhill timing, at least. Meanwhile, I'm trading a Microsoft Surface for a smartphone on spotty signal as I begin a jaunt through the paddock.
8:08, P: "Spotty", apparently, is an understatement. The race has just resumed after two consecutive long safety car periods that took up the majority of the time I was away. I have yet to find the reason for either. Little has changed up front save the ESR-leading Factory 48 Radical passing the ES-leading Ehret Porsche. Rotek's Audi TT-RS still sits in P4, while P5 (and P2 in ESR) belongs to the Radical West Racing Radical.
8:23, P: The Prototype Development Group Factory Five GTM, burnt to the ground earlier in the race, undergoes a rebuild (Via Juan Pineda)
8:33, P: The earlier safety car period was for an incident involving the #2 TFB/Gone Racing E30 making heavy contact with the spun #20 Weinard Racing Mazda RX-7. (Photo via Juan Pineda)
8:40, P: The Hankook/El Diablo BMW leads E0, while the Honda Research West Acura ILX holds P1 in E1. E2 is lead by the Team RDR RX-8, just ahead of the E3 leading 949 Racing Miata. Meanwhile, the JFC Racing Wolf makes yet another unscheduled stop.
8:45, P: The Factory 48 Radical SR3 appears to have had a long off, and the result is a change in P2 overall, as the ES second place running Ehret Porsche takes the spot from the ESR leader.
8:50, P: Can't be at Thunderhill? Watch the Mountain West Conference college football championship game on CBS. Derek Carr for Heisman!
8:52, P: The JFC Racing Wolf's pace cannot be understated. It is averaging laps eight seconds quicker than the leaders. It may be thirteen laps back, but for that car? Thirteen laps can be made up.
8:56, P: Of note for fans of the Retro Racing Team RX-3, on it's third engine: Sadly, the engines being thrown into the car are not the original 12a rotaries but instead the more modern 13b rotary.
9:03, P: The safety car is out for an incident in turn 2. There appears to be one stationary car in the corner. I believe it's been there for about four minutes now.
9:17, P: The safety car was for the #48 Factory 48 Radical! The car is presently being towed on a flatbed back to the paddock, surrendering P3 overall to the Rotek Racing Audi TT-RS of Robb Holland and Rob Huff. Soon, the car will lose the lead in the ESR class to the JFC Wolf.
9:22, P: The Ehret Porsche Cup car appears to have an issue, and it hands away P2 (both overall and in the ES class) to the #24 Rotek Audi!
9:28, P: The Factory 48 Radical's issues have finally moved the #52 JFC Racing Wolf back into P1 in ESR. Coupled with an inevitable overtake of Lexus's ES-class IS F, the 52 now sits P4 overall.
9:31, P: Safety vehicles have been dispatched to pick up what the folks at Endurance Radio believe to be the #49 CSR Performance Spec Racer Ford, stalled in Turn 3. The safety car, however, is not out.
9:40, P: The safety vehicles appear to have attempted to tow the #49 from an incorrect point, nearly rolling the Spec Racer Ford in their attempts to recover it. The safety car is out.
9:55, P: Back to green. Your overall top 10 above.
9:56, P: In the lower classes, the Hankook/El Diablo E46 3-Series still leads E0 and the Honda Research West Acura ILX leads E1. E2 still belongs to the Team RDR RX-8, while the E3 leading 949 Racing Miata holds steady as well.
10:04, P: The Rotek Audi is slowly catching the Ehret Porsche ahead for P2 in ES and in the race overall. It should be no surprise that Rob Huff is the one moving the TT-RS Race Car at such a rate of speed.
10:20, P: During this brief period of little action on a green track, Mazda motorsports director John Doonan has hopped into the Endurance Radio booth to discuss the three production Mazda6 diesels being run in E1, seemingly unannounced! Listen here, if you're interested.
10:30, P: The safety car is out again. Seemingly for a John Doonan interview.
10:42, P: A very nice Eastern European woman just handed me a pamphlet. Also, the safety car has returned to the pit lane and the green is back out.
10:49, P: It appears the cause of the last full course yellow was an issue for the #9 factory Lexus IS-F, which has fallen to 10th. The adjusted top 10 is above.
10:56, P: There is a circa-2006 Ford Fusion being worked on in the GMG Audi paddock right now. I saw said Fusion parked in their paddock about three hours ago and assumed it was just a driver taking advantage of the retirement of the other GMG Audi. Apparently, it is an integral part of the 8's successes.
11:04, P: Only at Thunderhill can you pass the 12 hour mark and still be 30 minutes from halfway! Your class leaders remain the same in all four categories, as does your overall top 5. Barely of note, professional sports car ace Craig Stanton is driving for Barrett Racing. This is rather amusing for those who remember the somehow-still-ongoing NASCAR career of stunt driver Stanton Barrett, who some refer to as "2003 Travis Pastrana".
11:22, P: Mike Skeen's incredible stint in the Superlite SLC has kept the sheer pace of the JFC Wolf at bay, though it's clear that the driver in the Wolf at the moment is not the fastest bullet in the team's armory.
11:25, P: Miles Jackson is the pilot of the JFC Wolf at the moment, per the gentlemen at Endurance Radio. He's just thrown down a 1:42, six full seconds faster than Skeen's last lap!
11:28, P: Pierre Ehret's Porsche GT3 Cup, the defending champion of the event, is behind the wall! The next Porsche in line, the Race Epic/GK Motorsports entry, is 20 full laps off the race lead!
However, it is also in sixth, so it's far from out. 20 laps and far from out: Welcome to Thunderhill.
11:34, P: Full course yellow for a car stopped on the west side of the track.
11:41, P: We've just passed halfway. The top 10 as they run under this safety car, above.
11:48, P: The E0 leading Hankook/El Diablo E46 is behind the wall. Their lead over the Luxury/Don't Crash Racing Mustang is now a single lap as we go back to green.
11:58, P: We have a lead change in E0! The Luxury/Don't Crash Racing Mustang now leads the class over the Hankook/El Diablo E46, still sitting in the garage.
12:00, P: It is now Sunday in Willows, California. Your lower class leaders are Honda Research West's Acura ILX in E1 (Ahead of every E0 car!), the Luxury/Don't Crash Racing Mustang in E0, the #78 Sector Purple Racing Miata in E2 (Thanks to some issues for the Robert Davis Racing RX-8) and the 949 Racing Miata in E3.
12:05, P: The #00 Porsche's issue is a gearbox issue. It will presumably not return to the track. Despite this, it STILL sits P7 overall at the moment.
12:10, P: With "Little Al" and Rob Huff in the Wolf and the Audi TT respectively, the overall leader's margin is shrinking by the second. Meanwhile, Factory Five's charred GTM is about to receive a new heart...
12:25, P: Major dramas as the E1 leading Honda Research West Acura ILX sits behind the wall! Meanwhile, Al Unser Jr's turning in lap times in the low 1:40s accentuated by one triumphant 1:39. There's a reason he was an elite pilot in AOWR's silver era, CART's golden era, folks.
12:29, P: I've mentioned the spirit of this race a few times, and there is no better embodiment of that spirit than the Retro Racing RX-3. Despite five trips to the paddock and three different rotary engines, the car is still out on track making an absolutely unmistakable noise. 50th in the overall standings, 1st in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.
12:37, P: Per the folks at Endurance Radio, the lone Seat Leon Supercopa in the field switched tire suppliers mid-race, and to great effect! I'll get more on that story in my next journey into the paddock.
12:44, P: The slow but inevitable march towards the front continues in the Rotek Audi and JFC Wolf camps, with both continuing to close on the leading Superlite SLC.
12:47, P: The Race Epic/GK Motorsports team works to repair the rear hub of their #69 Porsche, once running in the top 5 overall. (Photo via Curtis Smith)
12:58, P: Honda Research West's 27 returns to the track and retains the E1 lead. Little change in the top 10 overall, shown above.
1:01, P: Prototype Development Group's hard work pays off as their moment of triumph nears. (Photo via Juan Pineda)
1:03, P: What better ad can there be for Factory Five's kits than this? The Prototype Development Group GTM has life once more! It's return to the track may be mere minutes away.
1:08, P: After retiring their Porsche, TruSpeed departs Thunderhill 12 hours early.
1:12, P: Per Endurance Radio, one of Mazda's factory Mazda6s has completed 143 laps on just one tank of fuel. In case Audi's R10, R15 and R18 hadn't yet made you reach this realization, diesel engines are good for endurance racing.
1:33, P: The Superlite SLC has stopped on track! It refires and rejoins, losing approximately 3 minutes of it's lead on the Rotek Audi.
1:37, P: Now an issue for the Barrett Porsche, which appears to have been stuck on lap 383 for about 10 minutes. The lone GMG Audi R8 LMS has since passed it, taking it's position in the top 5.
2:14, P: A long stop for the leading Superlite SLC cuts it's lead down to just two laps!
2:16, P: Your hour 15 top 10, above.
2:21, P: The Prototype Development Group Factory Five GTM has been put back together again, but it's not yet ready to rejoin the race. (Photo via Juan Pineda)
2:34, P: Littler Al exits the JFC Wolf, giving way to Ivan "That one Italian guy that drove the Starworks DP at Daytona this year" Bellarosa. The fact that I'm reporting on driver changes should tell you how quiet the action on-track is at the moment. Behind the wall, however, many a crew toils away.
3:03, P: The JFC Wolf is finally on the same lap as the Rotek Audi. The Wolf's ascension into P2 seems inevitable...
3:04, P: Your 3 AM top 10 rundown above.
3:06, P: Well, that didn't take long. The ESR leading #52 JFC Racing Wolf GBO8S has taken P2 overall from the #24 Rotek Racing Audi TT-RS.
3:52, P: A long, long stop for, of all things, a seat insert issue in the SLC pits. That will shorten the SLC's gap to the Wolf even further.
4:10, P: The JFC Wolf spins in Turn 2 and the safety car is out!
4:11, P: The #24 Rotek Audi retakes P2 from the JFC Wolf while the car is being recovered.
4:58, P: The Wolf finally rejoins 53 minutes later. The folks at JFC will need some help to catch the leader from here.
5:06, P: And, just like that, the Wolf returns to the pit lane. Clearly, it is not heathly.
5:09, P: A full course caution falls over the track and the leading superlite SLC hasn't recycled timing and scoring in about 10 minutes. Compounded with a penalty for the 24 Audi, it appears all three of the top cars in the overall standings are stopped on track.
5:16, P: After a Wolf-on-Superlite lead change seeing inevitable all night, it's the Rotek Audi TT-RS now leading the race overall.
5:17, P: There are two safety cars on track now, for some reason. Like Le Mans, except it seems nobody's quite sure why it's happening. So, like Le Mans.
5:19, P: Per Endurance Radio, the JFC Wolf made contact with another car in turn 3 to create it's initial troubles about an hour ago, only to immediately follow the trauma with an exploded brake disc. No news on the formerly leading #03 SLC Superlite.
5:23, P: The SLC has a steering issue and sits in the paddock. It still holds 12 laps over the JFC Wolf in P3.
5:26, P: Your top 10, about an hour and a half before dawn, above.
5:27, P: Lost in the issues of the former overall leader have been the struggles of GMG's Audi R8 LMS, which has fallen from fourth overall to sixth after a long off-track excursion.
5:37, P: The steering rack on the #03 Team Quick Racing Products Superlite SLC is destroyed and the team does not have a spare. The leader for the majority of the race is likely done for the night.
5:43, P: With what the Australians like to call "Dramers" playing out for the dominant SLC, the gap worth watching in the overall fight is the one between the leading Rotek Audi TT-RS and the JFC Wolf in P3. That currently sits at around 15 laps.
5:57, P: Leader around! The leading #24 Audi has spun on the west end of the track. He rejoins without error, but the finicky TT could be damaged.
6:02, P: Good morning from Willows, California! Your lower class leaders are Luxury: Don't Crash Racing (E0), Honda Research West (E1), 949 Racing (E3) and Sector Purple Racing (E2).
6:24, P: Endurance Radio reports a car on fire on the outside of turn 1, and it's the JFC Wolf. This brings out the safety car.
6:25, P: The Wolf was not only second overall, but the lead car in the ESR class. If the issues are as bad as they seem, the car will sacrifice that position to the Radical West Racing Radical SR3, which will also take P3 on the overall podium. P2 on the overall podium will go to Barrett Racing's Porsche.
6:28, P: Two hours ago, this race was a war between the ultimate tortoise, the uber-reliable Superlite SLC, and the ultimate hare, the 8-seconds-a-lap-quicker-than-anything-else Wolf GBO8S. Now, both are unlikely to see the track for the remainder of the day, and the race is firmly in the clutches of Robb Holland's Rotek Racing Audi TT-RS Race Car.
6:40, P: The sunrise is just minutes away here in Willows, California. Finally, the relentless, merciless night will break, and with it's end comes an overwhelming feeling of relief for all who survive the darkness. However, dawn is the ultimate paper tiger of the 24 hour (25, in this case) endurance race, for those last five hours are the hardest of the entire event. The oft-forgotten, all-important crucial stint begins now, and how Rotek Racing's pilots handle their commanding 24 lap lead will decide who leaves the weekend victorious.
6:47, P: The once-dominant Superlite SLC sits silent in the paddock.
7:11, D: The GMG Audi has gone off at turn four, but the safety car will not be deployed. A tow-truck is currently recovering it.
7:13, D: The Radical West Racing machine moves up to third overall and the ESR class lead, overtaking the JFC Wolf.
7:15, D: Just five hours left.
7:34, D: The 2nd placed Barrett Racing Porsche is dropping a massive amount of time. It is now 29 laps down and is about to be overtaken by the Radical West Racing RS3. It is unknown at the moment what has happened to the Barrett entry.
7:48, D: The Barrett Racing Porsche is back on track and now chasing down the Radical in 2nd. They are two laps down to RS3 and 34 down to the leading TT RS.
8:03, P: The JFC Wolf hasn't held together quite as well in defeat as the Superlight SLC has.
8:34, P: Barrett Racing, Radical West Racing and GMG are setting up quite the dogfight for P2 overall, each separated by just one lap as they run. They are 31 laps behind the leading Audi TT-RS.
8:42, P: Second generation Toyota Starlets. Fender mirrors. Thunderhill.
8:43, P: Just 40 seconds the gap from P2 (Radical West Racing SR3) to P3 (Barrett Racing 911 GT3 Cup), and just 50 seconds from P3 to P4! (GMG Racing R8 LMS)
8:53, P: The Barrett Racing Porsche passes the Radical West Racing Radical SR3 for P2 on the track! Both cars, as well as the GMG Racing R8, are now on the same lap.
8:55, P: The GMG R8 follows the Barrett entry in passing the Radical West Racing SR3. The Audi now gives chase to the Barrett Porsche in hopes of making the overall results an Audi 1-2.
9:00, P: GMG's Audi R8 has overtaken the Barrett Racing Porsche in the final corners of the track and now sits second overall and in the ES class. Your top 10 at 9 AM local time, above.
10:35, P: One minor timing issue later, little has changed in the overall standings. However. the Factory 5 GTM of Prototype Development Group, burnt to the ground just two laps into the event, has finally returned to the track after being entirely rebuilt.
10:39, P: Your top 10 with just under an hour and a half to go, above.
10:59, P: Lower class leaders: Luxury: Don't Crash Racing Mustang (E0), Honda Research West Acura ILX (E1), Sector Purple Racing Miata (E2), RJ Racing Miata (E3).
11:15, P: An update on an earlier incident: Per some fine folks in the paddock, the #10 Namazu "Catfish" ESR entry was involved in the wreck that ended the JFC Wolf's day.
11:24, P: Barrett Racing's Porsche is about to put a lap on the GMG Audi R8 LMS, cementing their lead in the fight for the overall win.
11:35, P: Smells (Yes, smells) like an issue for the resurrected Factory Five GTM. Meanwhile, the third placed GMG Audi has only fourth gear to work with, smoke pouring out the back and just one lap of lead on the Radical West Racing Radical SR3.
11:40, P: The #08 is in the pits, possibly to retire. The Radical West Racing Radical SR3 takes P3 overall and continues to lead the ESR class.
11:45, P: 24 1/2 hours down and just 14 minutes left to play. This time yesterday, the Retro Racing RX-3 was on it's first engine, Davidson Racing still had multiple cars in the field and fans of Ohio State college football still had hope. Oh, how times change...
11:47, P: The safety car is out for an E46 stranded on the east end of the course. This could, but hopefully won't, end the race.
11:53, P: Green with 7 minutes to go.
11:56, P: The cause of the most recent delay.
12:00, P: The checkered flag is thrown, and thus ends the 25 Hours of Thunderhill! Rotek Racing wins the race overall and in ES with their TT-RS, leading home Barrett Racing's Porsche and Radical West Racing's ESR winning SR3. Your EO winner is the Luxury: Don't Crash Racing Mustang, while your victor in E1 is Honda Racing West's Acura ILX. E3 victory belongs to RJ Racing's Miata, while Sector Purple Racing survived to take victory in E2 with their Miata.