Flying Lizard Motorsports scored its third consecutive NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill overall win over the weekend, becoming the second to win three straight in the race’s 15-year history. The other team to achieve that feat was Team Mercer Motorsports, which won overall in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The team, which raced at the Californian event with a Audi R8 LMS backed by Toyo Tires once again, started sixth and eventually took the lead shortly after the sun came up on Sunday after Ryno Racing’s Ginetta G57 P2s (which locked out the front row in Qualifying) suffered mechanical issues.
It wasn’t an easy run to the flag though for the team, which had late scare with 90 minutes remaining, when driver Nathan Stacy went off at Turn 3 into the dirt and struggled to get the Audi started again.
Eventually though, Stacy was able to get the car fired again and the team crossed the line six laps ahead of the rest of the field. By the time race ended Sunday, Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports drivers Darren Law, Nate Stacy, Charlie Hayes and Tom Hacker logged 2,200 miles on the five mile circuit.
“It’s still fun to win them,” said driver Darren Law, who has helped drive the team to victory the past three years. “We literally didn’t touch any other car. There’s not a mark on it and we didn’t have anything go wrong. It was perfect.”
Second-place overall in the field went to Calvert Dynamics/Competition Motorsports’ #72 Porsche GT3 of Michael Lewis, Andrew Davis, Preston Calvert and Kurt Rezzetano, ahead of Crowd Strike/One Motorsports’ Radical SR3.
By finishing third overall, Crowd Strike/One Motorsports took its first class victory in the race, winning the ESR class which featured the two Ryno Ginettas, a second One Motorsports Radical and a Norma M20FC run by Norma’s Last Chance.
It wasn’t a clean run for the class-winning Radical SR3 of George Kurtz, Dave House, Kenton Koch and Gerhard Watzingerhowever. It suffered a problem with the alternator which required creative solutions to keep the open-cockpit car running. The team had to shut down fuel pumps, reduce headlight output and even turn off the steering wheel heater despite racing in temperatures that dipped in the low 40 degrees.
“It was five hours of absolute thrashing,” said driver Kenton Koch. “We had a couple issues with the alternator and keeping things charged, so we had half the lights shut off all night and we could hardly see straight. The only thing we had were the lights that point out so I could see the marks.
Norma’s Last Chance finished second in the class, two laps behind Crowd Strike/One Motorsports.
Further down the field, Flying Lizard Motorsports also won the GT Challenge class (as the sole entrant). The team raced a Porsche Cayman, and climbed as high as sixth overall before the car had a water-line failure, causing the team to slip to 24th overall by the end of the race.
“It was obviously a little disappointing the other teams dropped out, and I do believe that next year is going to be a pretty big group, because obviously anything Toyo does, they do it right,” said team manager Thomas Blam.
“So, we were happy to run the tires. We had a phenomenal run for the first 20 hours, and at one point we were sixth overall, which I think is pretty remarkable for a DOT tire. We’re hoping to be back next year and hoping to bring a couple of more cars with us.”
Photo courtesy of NASA Thunderhill 25 Hours