View Full Version : 25 hours of Thunderhill

Damn True
12-04-2006, 03:21 PM
If you are unfamiliar with the event, the 25 takes place at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA. About 2hrs north of Sacramento in California's central valley. The 25 is the longest sports car endurance race in the world and pits a huge variety of cars in a multitude of classes against each other in an all out battle from 11am on Saturday until noon on Sunday. The entry list contained a two car team from Car-Driver featuring brand new Euro-spec BMW 3-series turbo-diesels, Mitsubishi Evo's, a Porsche 996 (that won), a D-sports Mazda and 4 Spec Racer Fords, about 30 Mazda Miatas, a 1973 Datsun 240-Z, a 1976 BMW 2002, 7 Mazda MX-5's, a couple of Subaru WRX's, two Honda-Research Civic SI's, a Skyline, Two RHD Opak/Spoon Hondas (JDM YO!), a CMC Mustang and I'm sure some other stuff that I've forgotten.

I was fuel-man and general fix-it guy for the #14 "Never Give Up" E2 Miata.

The name turned out to be rather fitting. Due to some cheezball strapping of the car in transit we discovered a damaged trans about 2pm on Friday. So I drove to the Hooverspeed shop in Sac to get a new Hartzell built trans and we got it stabbed back in about 35 min after night practice on Friday.......so we didn't qualify. Bummer. But since it's an endurance race qualifying is not that big of a deal and isn't really required. You just have to start at the back of the pack.

The car ran great Saturday morning though and our guest driver (Kim Wilcox from Reno) brought the car from very near the back at the start up to about 12th. Our next driver continued to advance the car and we were 3rd in E2 and 11th overall when..........we found an ingenious way to improve crankcase ventilation........by using a connecting rod to poke a fist-sized hole in each side.

Again....in keeping with the name we stabbed in a backup JYD (junk-yard-dog) engine and got back on track in just under 4hrs. The motor actually turned out to be pretty good and we were able to run cautious 2:17's through the night.

We were moving slowly through the field without much incident (except for one of the Spoon Honda's turning in on us in T-1) and saw the sun rise on a car at 11th in E2.

A brief penalty stop, and another mandatory stop to repair an absent muffler due to a broken weld (despite at least 1/2 dozen other cars being BLATANTLY loud all night) everything went pretty well. The E2 car next to us ran pretty trouble free and we know they grabbed 3rd spot.

I never actually got to sleep during the race so by the time I got home at 7:15pm on Sunday I had been awake since 6:00am on Saturday. Note: don't drive from T-hill back home in San Jose next year on zero sleep.

As I mentioned earlier, we blew a trans in Friday practice and didn't get a chance to qualify.
After driving to the Hooverspeed shop in Sac (2hrs each way) to get a new trans and thrashing all Friday afternoon/eve the car was as ready as we could get it on Saturday morning.
The doink on the LF fender was caused by the car coming loose on the trailer during its hell-ride from Texas. The ride also may have resulted in the busted trans as well since it was left in gear and spent the whole ride on a wedge trailer bouncing off the gears.

Out t0 the grid and ready to rock

Obligatory team photo prior to the battle L - R: Newt Watson - Driver from Texas, Morgan ______ Mechanic from Reno, Strapped in - Kim Wilcox - Driver from Reno, Tim Evans - Driver from Texas, Joel Moore - Mechanic from Texas, Charles Mathes - Owner and Driver from Texas, True Tourtillott (me) - Fuel-dude/Mechanic from California


Some USAF guys showed up, but I guess there isn't a NASA class for F-15's so they lit the burners and left.

Last years winner, Team Lost-n-Spaced. Strong team, good drivers.

Senic stuff, Mt. Lassen visible in the distance

The way-bitchin BMW/Car-Driver Diesels
The white one blew a motor or something, the other one ran well the whole race. Fast and super quiet.

Once the race started things went pretty well for a while. We lost a few laps early because we ran out of gas during a long caution. The pit steward told us we could not come in and sit during the yellow. So we stayed out and ran out of gas and had to wait for a tow in from the safety-truck. Minutes later the tower called to apologize for the error saying that we could in fact have come in and sat in the pit during the yellow provided we didn't touch the car. Lesson learned for us and a pit steward.

4.5 hours and 157 laps into the race.....bummer.

See through Miata motor #1. Note the cracks migrating all over the side of the block.

See through Miata motor #2. Note the hunks of rod cap, destroyed windage tray and motor mount bosses blown out (somewhere between turn 3 & 4 I think).

Old motor out. JYD going in. Owner, Charles Mathes armpit deep, Joel Moore making sure none of us make anything else break, Newt afraid to touch anything else, Kim Wilcox keeping everyones spirits high.

Neil B
12-04-2006, 04:11 PM
Very Cool. We ran that race a few years ago in a CMC Mustang when it was only 12 hours long. It's one of my all-time favorite events because of all the great friends that participated in the effort and the great stories from the race weekend itself. To race for 25 continuous hours must be just amazing.

Van B
12-04-2006, 04:30 PM
Anybody else not able to open any of the pictures?

12-04-2006, 05:40 PM
Anybody else not able to open any of the pictures?


12-04-2006, 05:59 PM
I was not able to look at photos to.

Damn True
12-04-2006, 06:24 PM
damn, gotta put the photos somewhere other than yahoo I guess.

Strange, it was working earlier.

Van B
12-04-2006, 06:46 PM
What is E2 when referring to the Miatas?

12-04-2006, 07:40 PM
damn, gotta put the photos somewhere other than yahoo I guess.

Strange, it was working earlier.


email them to me and I can host them here.


[email protected]

Damn True
12-04-2006, 07:51 PM

12-04-2006, 08:23 PM
Let's see if this works:

25 Hours pictures (https://www.pro-touring.com/%7Eandrewb/25_Hours/index.html)


Damn True
12-04-2006, 08:41 PM
Morgan working like a rented mule like he did all weekend
8.5 hours into the race with the last 4 spent in the pits, all done. Ready to mount the lights and go racin' again!
Dawn's early light shone on us back on track and running strong.
Bitchin Bimmer between the goofballs. One of those two Opak/Spoon Honda's nailed us in T-1. Our guy was on the inside at the apex and he turned into us. He got the worst of the contact, we got penalized. Go figure. Lesson learned, don't get hit by big $$ teams that are also sponsoring the race.
Beautiful old 2002 that never skipped a beat for 25 hrs. Slow, but reliable as a Swiss watch.
Les Finis. Dirty, a little beat-up but still running strong finishing 9th in E2 and 37th overall!
Haas Fogle who is a friend of Charles put his car onto the podium. They squeaked into 3rd in the last 30min.
Texas Twosome after the race
The winning car. Absurdly fast and super solid. Their drivers and crew were true gentlemen throughout the race.
Tim Evans - stoked!
All told, it was a crapload of work. I am tired as hell and sore from head to toe. Can't wait for next year. The only thing that would have been better is if I had been able to drive. Maybe someday. In any case I can't wait to do it again next year!

Damn True
12-04-2006, 08:43 PM
Let's see if this works:

25 Hours pictures (https://www.pro-touring.com/%7Eandrewb/25_Hours/index.html)


Some do, some dont

Damn True
12-04-2006, 09:06 PM
What is E2 when referring to the Miatas?

E2 is one of the endurance racing classes within NASA. Either ITA or Spec Miata prepped miatas qualify.

Damn True
12-05-2006, 08:17 AM
Ok, got the pics fixed.

David Pozzi
12-08-2006, 10:20 PM
A friend of mine "Tim" was co-driving the BMW 2002 with all the headlights on it. He says he had a great time. He did say there was some crazy driving/passing considering it was a 25 hr race, some drove like it was a 25 minute race.
How many cars started the race?

Damn True
12-08-2006, 11:38 PM
I think there was something close to 50 at the start.

That 2002 was beautiful! Yes, there were some serious goons out there, but very few mishaps of any note.

12-09-2006, 08:01 PM
hey, my boss was there...co-driver for a friends mustang. too much racing for me.

he said he almost pissed himself when the jet went super sonic. LOL

Damn True
12-18-2006, 04:05 PM
That Mustang ran strong. Too bad they had to change the trans. Was that the only problem they encountered?

Damn True
02-20-2007, 10:52 PM
The team I wrenched/crewed for, "Team Never Give UP" made Grassroots Motorsports (http://www.grassrootsmotorsports.com/ (http://www.grassrootsmotorsports.com/)) on page 134 and got a photo & whole paragraph dedicated to us.

While we did not make the podium, we did make it to the pages of a national magazine.