Frank A. Filipponio
| Jan 02, 2013
Team StopTech Kicks Off 2013 With 25 Hours of Thunderhill
Twenty-twelve marked the 25th Anniversary of Thunderhill Raceway Park, a technical 3 mile road course outside of Willows, CA, comprised of 15 corners and one rather large hill known as the "ski jump." The weekend of December 8-9th was the 10th anniversary of the country’s longest endurance sports car race, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
Although it does have a grassroots feel about it, the challenge of a 25 hour race brings out several professionals like Randy Pobst, Robb Holland, Charles Espenlaub and Tyler McQuarrie to name a few. Used to shorter sprint races in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship (PWCC), some of the series regulars were in for a grueling day plus of racing. The 25 hour runtime is actually longer than the combined length of the entire PWCC season!
While the ES Class No. 00 Motorsports Solutions/Ehret Family Vineyards Porsche 911 GT3 Cup took the overall win, the No. 49 949 Racing Mazda Miata took top honors in the E1 class, and the No. 79 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda Miata took the win in E2. In E3 it was the No. 30 Miata Cage.com Mazda Miata in front at the checker. The pole-setting Factory 48 Motorsports Radical team overcame three motor changes to take the win in ESR, and the Hankook Tire/El Diablo BMW M3 took win in E0.
Seeing that three different Miatas took three class wins might lead you to believe that the Thunderhill race isn’t very diverse. You’d be wrong. Of the 68 cars that took to the grid on Saturday morning, there were no fewer than 17 different manufacturers represented, with everyone from Acura to Scion in the mix.
Last but not least in the alphabetical listings was the No. 08 APM-Stoptech-Scion Racing Scion FR-S co-driven by our CEO, Dino Crescentini, and the son of our Head of Engineering, Stephen Ruiz among others.
There is a ton of buzz surrounding Toyota’s newest rear-drive two-seat sports car, and this was the first time the car had raced in the U.S. While a few on and off track mishaps kept the team from a top five finish, the car did pretty well considering it was a first-time effort for the team as well as the car.
Another Team StopTech entry was the No. 58 Rimicci Corse Fiat 500 Abarth which will see its series debut in PWCC in 2013. At Thunderhill it finished well back in the E0 class, though it was another first time effort for car and team. Even finishing a 25 hour race is a great accomplishment, though, so they had a lot to feel happy about when the checkered flag flew on Sunday at noon.
Although technically still run in 2012, Thunderhill is one of the races that signal the unofficial start of the 2013 racing calendar. Team StopTech will have entries in several series again this year, from PWCC, to Cayman Interseries, to Grand-Am, circle tack and off-road action. It should be another great year and we promise to be there along the way to share some of the stories, photos and video from all the action.