One of my favorite annual racing events, the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill brings racers from all backgrounds and disciplines together to see who can run their racecar the fastest over a 25-hour period. Walking the paddock is like compressing an entire year of friends and conversations into a single weekend and yet, somehow, the on-track action is even better.
This year I was lucky enough to drive with Tiger Racing in their 2006 BMW M3. Compared to the low-horsepower cars I typically drive, this 400+HP car with 10″ slicks and big Brembo brakes was a completely different animal, and it was fast. Even at a comfortable enduro pace to preserve the car and exercise caution when passing, the M3 is capable of running lap times 12-15s/lap faster than my Spec Miata. It also sounds absolutely glorious.
Here are a few laps of in-car footage from my stint driving just after sundown into the darkness. Driving at night is one of my favorite times: you settle into a rhythm and just click off the laps (click through to see a larger version and make sure to enable HD):
I was in the car for 2.5 hours until earlier damage created a mechanical issue that forced us to retire. This was the team’s 8th running of the 25 Hour and it’s their first retirement which speaks to the great job they do before the race each year. The car is prepared by Bavarian Tuning in Santa Rosa and TC Design in Milpitas, CA. Big thanks go out to the crew – one of the best in the paddock – and my fellow drivers John Larson, Billy Maher and Tony Colicchio for inviting me to be part of the team!
For some amazing photos, check LifeBlasters.com write-up of the event.