Sean Rayhall will lead the 63 car 2015 25 of Thunderhill field to the green in the #67 One Motorsports Radical.
Under near perfect weather conditions of 50 degrees, the 63 car field took to the track for a 30-minute qualifying session. Throughout the half-hour the battle for the overall pole position was between the #67 Radical of One Motorsport and the #8 Ryno Racing Ginetta LMP3 car. Knocking on the door of the event pole in third was last year’s overall winner the #17 Davidson Racing Norma. When the checkered dropped on qualifying it was the ESR Class Radical of One Motorsports taking the pole with sports car ace Sean Rayhall at the wheel. He will lead the 63 car field to the green for the 13th running of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance with a time of 1:40.275.
“It is awesome to get the pole for One Motorsports this year,” Rayhall said. “They haven’t had one for a few years. We came up short in the rain last year. It is hectic as usual there, just a ton of traffic. You have to pick your spots to pass and get a good exit off the turns. It is tough this year, you don’t know who is in the cars. You see one Miata and then the next one has more horsepower so you really don’t know sometimes. This race is about survival, not fast lap times. The pole means nothing for the long run. We need to keep the fenders on the car and go the distance. The team has done a lot of work on the endurance aspects of the car for this year.”
In the ES Class Burt Frisselle drove the #16 Davidson Eagle to the class pole with a time of 1:43.501.
“The car ran really good,” Frisselle said. “It is always interesting qualifying here for the 25 because it is in the dark. The whole field is out there at one time. Less stressful than last year without the rain so it was good. We had to keep it clean. We decided to go with a softer tire compound. I may have run it too hard before qualifying, but we got the job done. I can’t wait until 11 a.m. to roll around tomorrow.”
In E0 it was the #30 El Diablo BMW driven by James Clay who took the top spot with a time of 1:54.296.
“It is always a little hairy out there qualifying at night,” Clay said. “There are a lot of cars on track and there are a lot of quick ones. My car was cold so my first couple of laps I was just praying to stay clean. I was able to get a good lap and didn’t get held up and put one together. We are not going to run that pace in the race. We have an old world challenge car we resurrected so we are good. We have six guys driving all good guys and we are going to have some fun.”
The #0 BMW driven by Mark Drennan, double 2015 NASA Spec Miata Champion, put the red and white car on the E1 pole with a lap of 2:00.314.
“It was great, we got a fantastic result,” Drennan said. “I haven’t driven in the dark in a while so it was a little disconcerting for a lap or two. They have changed the light rules this year, so it was a little tough to pick up my points. I ended up just barely on pole. I have been racing a Spec E46 all last year, so compared to a Miata it is a lot different. Our strategy is to keep the car on the track all of the time and finish.”
Joel Miller drove “Kermit” the green #34 Mazda RX8 to the pole position in the E2 Class with a time of 2:05.396.
“I started where we finished last year,” Miller said. “My spotter was able to get me a gap on the track and I got a fairly clean run. We are just doing our thing here at Mazda. Kermit has one win, so we are trying to get
RDR and Mother’s another win. I usually drive the Mazda P2 car in IMSA and I tell everyone that this event is a lot of fun!”
The #40 of RAmotorsports40 Mazda Miata was driven by Darren Polsley to the E3 Class pole position with a time of 2:06.635.
“I didn’t really get a clean lap with all of the traffic,” Polsley said. “The car is so good, I guess it was good enough for the pole. Our strategy is to survive until the rain Sunday morning and then survive the rain. It is a balance between pace and longevity, we need to strike the right balance.”
Marking its first on track competitive appearance is the all-new NASA developed NP01 Prototype. Tyler McQuarie drove the #6 NP01 of CLP Motorsports to the class pole with a time of 1:52.079.
“It is the first time getting the NP01 on track in competition,” McQuarie said. “There is not a lot of open track out there with all of the cars. You really need to keep the momentum going with the NP01 as it doesn’t have a lot of torque. I think our time put us in the top 10 overall, so not a bad start to the weekend. We are first in class, so we will take it. We are going to focus on just keeping the car together. The car is brand new, so we just need to be mistake free and make it to the end.”