First Day at Thunderhill

By | December 7, 2013

Last night’s qualifying round for 25 Hours of Thunderhill took place in absolutely miserable conditions: rain phasing into sleet as the temperature plummeted, made all the worse by a bitter wind that cut through multiple layers of fleece and this reporter’s down coat like they weren’t even there. Snow was falling by the time the cars had all returned to their paddocks, and the chances of a good day for racing today seemed slim.

But as the old cliche goes, it always looks darkest before the dawn. When morning arrived, the snow was gone, replaced by a wet, gray fog that quickly burned off as the sun climbed.

The “all comers welcome” nature of this event became obvious as a motley assortment of cars began to grid up beneath crystal-blue skies. The exotic curves of the JFC Racing Wolf GB08S and Factory 48/CrowdStrike Superlite SLC mingled alongside the European lines of Porsches, BMWs, and Audis, while the more utilitarian shapes of the ColdCock Whiskey Silverado and KleenBlast/Davids Racing Camaro lent a dash of blue-collar Americana.

The race began a little after 11 AM PST. IndyCar legend Al Unser, Jr., driving car #52, the JFC Wolf, was in the lead after the first hour, but now that the sun has set again over Thunderhill Racing Park and headlights and tricked-out LED strips are cutting through the darkness, Quick Racing’s Superlite (car #03) has taken the top spot. It’s going to be long night, though…

Just as a reminder, the official live timing feed can be found here; Endurance Radio has live audio coverage; and Mazda USA’s stream of in-car video direct from their SkyActive diesels is here.

This is Jason Bennion’s first time covering 25 Hours of Thunderhill. He also blogs at, when the silly thing is functioning properly.

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