EXR RACING SERIES REGULARS SCORE TOP 10 FINISHES AT 25 HOURS OF THUNDERHILL
Number 58 car finishes second in class and ninth overall.
LAS VEGAS – EXR Racing Series fielded two LV02 racecars at the annual 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race among nine series regular drivers, and emerged with a second place in class and ninth place overall for the number 58 UFD Racing car driven by Bill Hynes, Roger Eagleton, Matthew Brabham, Rene Villeneuve and Henry Morse. The number 68 car, driven by Mark Ramsey, Chris Carel, David Mathey and Rob Bramlette suffered through as the victim of some race incidents to finish in 15th place in class and 40th position overall. Both cars were underpowered compared to those in their class, and were the only two cars forced to run on a DOT tire versus a true racing tire.
Captained by Bill Hynes, the UFD Racing crew ran a measured pace to a strict strategy that kept them out of trouble. Having risen to seventh place in the middle of the night, the team continued to run a steady pace and climbed into second place with only hours to go. Henry Morse put in an iron-man level effort having driven seven of the 25 hours himself. Despite a brief concern with a steering issue as the race came to a close, forcing them to run a more cautious pace, the squad was able to maintain a 3-lap advantage over the car behind to claim the runner-up spot.
“The good news is that we made it to the finish and ended up with a solid second place finish in the highly contested E0 class with only 10 laps separating us from 1st place,” said Roger Eagleton. “Ten laps is roughly 20 minutes, with an average pit stop taking between three and five minutes with no issues, and between 15 to 20 minutes if you had to go behind the wall for something more involved. So really, we were about as close as we could possibly be and one slow pit stop or one trip behind the wall for the winning team could have meant victory for us.”
Unfortunately, the race for the number 68 car was a more turbulent one. First the car suffered through a brief refueling fire, but were able to continue. Then, it all came a-cropper when the then race-leading Ginetta suffered a mechanical and spun right into the number 68 car with Chris Carel behind the wheel. With only three working wheels, Carel was able to limp back to the pits where the EXR Racing crew went into damage control mode.
At that point the race had but three hours to go, and thanks to a heroic effort in the garage the whole front-end was repaired. However, after a brief return to the track, the car’s steering and brakes were not cooperating so they returned to the garage to replace the entire right front wheel assembly. Finally, with 48 minutes remaining, Rob Bramlette was able to rejoin the race, and see the car to the finish.
“You don’t realize the real meaning of the sticker they give you before the race until you crossed the finish line. It was really an adventure!” said Carel
His co-driver Mark Ramsey added, “What started as a shiny new EXR LV02 car with a fresh paint job and nice logos, ended the grueling 25 hours at Thunderhill Raceway as a rag tag collection from several cars held together with duct tape, wire, zip ties and a little luck. We can now say that we survived racing in the longest endurance race in the US.”
Overseeing the EXR Racing crew was four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans veteran Alexandre Premat. Having driven Le Mans three times with Audi, Premat had experienced all the highs and lows that a round the clock (plus 1) race can throw at competitors. Thanks to his steady leadership, this group of amateur and semi-professional racers had the race of a lifetime, and look forward to the next opportunity to run it again.
Cleo Premat, Director of Communication