Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports team won its fourth-consecutive overall victory at the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill last Sunday, overcoming adversity throughout the race, winning it eventually by three laps.
With the win, the team now holds the most overall titles in the 16-year history of 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“It’s 25 hours, so many things can happen and we’ve got to hand it to the guys in the Radicals,” said Darren Law, one of the team owners. “We know those cars are fast, but they’re a bit more fragile than the GT cars, and that’s why we come here with a GT3. We’ve got great driver lineups, a great team and great cars, great preparation and great tyres.”
The Lizard’s Porsche 911 RSR of Charlie Hayes, Johannes van Overbeek, Wolf Henzler, Andy Wilzoch and Justin Marks suffered an issue with its left axle within the first hour of the race.
When the team got that repaired, the car returned to the race to try to make up the laps they had lost. But that wasn’t the end of the team’s dramas, as right axle failed and they had to come back in not long after. When what was fixed, the team noticed the paddle-shifted gearbox was starting to act up, so they began omitting the use of certain gears in certain corners.
“The guys never give up, and they know to work through it, and that’s the attitude of the team,” Law said.
The problem continued to worsen till the very last laps of the race when they were down to just fourth and fifth gears. Clean-up driver Charlie Hayes nursed the car home for the team’s fourth consecutive class and overall win.
In the end, the Flying Lizard Porsche that won the race, beat out the #67 One Motorsports Radical SR3 which finished second (and won the ESR class), and the #4 Prototype Development Group Factory Drive GTM which finished 22 laps off the winners (second in ES).
The One Motorsports team brought two cars to the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and for 16 of those hours, its #44 Radical had the lead in ESR and the lead overall. But the #44 was forced to retire after 663 laps of the circuit, though it still finished up 17th in the overall classification and third in ESR.
“Initially we had a brake problem, which we sorted out, but we had a clutch problem from the beginning, and the clutch eventually failed and debris got in and messed up the crank sensor and shut the engine off,” Shafer said. “We were going to change it, but there was only two hours left in the race and we weren’t going to change position, so we ended up bagging it.”
Just off the overall podium in the gruelling race was the #45 Flying Lizard Audi R8 LMS GT4, which was the sole entrant in the GT Challenge class, and raced with an all-female line-up of Laura Ely, Ashton Harrison, Erin Vogel, Christina Nielsen and Aurora Straus.
“This is actually the first time four of our five drivers have done this race,” said driver Ashton Harrison.
“We have Christina, who has done a ton of endurance racing, but this was her first time at the 25 Hours. So, three of our other drivers haven’t ever done the 25 Hours, so this is their first experience, and overall we finished fourth. It’s pretty awesome.”
The #10 Turn 3 Motorsport Radical completed the top five, with a second place finish in the ESR category, its car completing 702 laps.t experience, and overall we finished fourth. It’s pretty awesome.”
Photo courtesy of Nasaspeed