NEWS _ TC Motorsports/EGO racing Bring Home Top-10 Finish at the 25-Hours of Thunderhill
Willows, CA (12.10.07) : After spending all day Thursday dialing in the setup on the #26 BMW 325is, the TCM/EGO crew was ready to go for Friday testing. The TCM/EGO team and drivers had a successful morning of testing with all drivers getting a fair share of seat time in the #26 BMW. The team settled on a driver order and prepared the car for qualifying and night practice. Team Principal. Carlo Sparacio, would qualify the car in the very messy conditions. Cars were all over the place, with many going off course creating lots of dust which made qualifying conditions less than desirable. Most of the other TCM/EGO drivers ran some of night practice, getting use to the track in the dark. The team qualified 12th in class, 35th overall and were very pleased and optimistic about the start of Saturday’s race.
After the pre-race ceremonies, the entire 63-car field began their pace laps for the upcoming 25-hour event. As the field took the green flag, Sparacio, who would start the car, made a clean start, dodging traffic and settling into a strong pace. Sparacio would double-stint the first portion of the race, which saw him in the car for about 3 hours. The TCM/EGO team was off to a good start and Rick Edwards took on a double-stint before handing over to Ron Gabel. Edwards drove a great stint that took him into the darkness of night. Gabel was up next and ran a single-stint before handing the car over Johnny Kanavas around 7:30 pm. With a double-stint planned, all was going well for Kanavas until contact with two other cars in the very-fast turn-8. Reporting to the pits immediately, the crew replaced the right front tire and took on 10 gallons of fuel, making the best of the unscheduled stop. Johnny returned to the track with the now somewhat ill-handling BMW. As Kanavas’ stint neared its end, Johnny began to feel a stumble in the car, causing the car to lose power intermittently. Kanavas brought the car in and handed it over to Sparacio as the crew replaced a rubbing right rear tire, knocked out the fender and cleaned out the airbox.
About one hour into Carlo’s stint, he began to have the same stumbling symptoms that Kanavas had during the previous stint. The crew called the #26 to the pits, brought him to the back paddock and changed the fuel filter and pump, along with two left side tires and 10 gallons of fuel. The BMW was back on track until another car pushed Carlo off the outside of turn 8 forcing some unwanted off-roading, causing the car to lose power and shut off. As the car was towed into the pits, the team immediately addressed the problem, which was a simple loose ground wire for the fuel pump. The team was back on track only losing a total of about 10 minutes from the time of incident to the time they hit the track again. Fighting traffic and an oily track due to a car dropping oil in turn 1, Sparacio eventually pitted, handing the car over to Edwards who would drive a trouble-free double stint, making one quick stop for fuel.
Kanavas was to take over again at about the 3:00am mark. This would prove to be an important stint for Kanavas and the TCM/EGO team. Rain began to fall near the end of another caution period, which would turn into an advantage for the #26 team. As the track went green again, Kanavas settled into a quick and smooth pace. Throughout the rain period, the little white BMW ran some of the fastest times in the E1 class by nearly 10 seconds, along with being one of the top-5 fastest cars on track! After just over 4 hours and into dawn, Kanavas brought the car back in to hand over to Ron Gabel. “We had a great run when it was wet. I was surprised we could run that fast compared to everyone else. With those Toyo intermediate tires, the car was sliding a lot, but very manageable. I really enjoyed those 4 hours.” commented Kanavas.
Gabel took over just past 7:00 am and would double-stint before handing over to Edwards to take to the finish. During Gabel’s stint, he picked up a bad vibration, which the team immediately addressed by changing a right side tire. As the team neared the end of the race, Edwards would take over from Gabel one more time for a stint that would take him to the checker flag. Once Edwards returned to the car, he focused on running a clean, smooth stint, taking the car to the end of the 25 hours.
At the end of the tough and cold 25 hours, the TC Motorsports/EGO Racing team was very proud to have brought home a Top-10 finish in class, with a 9th in the E-1 class and 21st overall. The team performed flawlessly and despite some unplanned stops and repairs, the team stuck to their strategy. To finish a 25-hour race is a huge accomplishment and the team faced only a few small problems on their way to the end. There were several caution periods in this year’s race, more than usual. The white #26 BMW survived the mayhem and cold to bring home a solid 9th place finish.
The team was able to share their 2007 25-hour experience with the world through their live blog site that chronicled the action of the TCM/EGO team. Special thanks to eprodius.com for hosting the blog.
To access the site, see photos and what the team went through, please visit: www.eprodius.com/tcm25
*the blog site is also featured on SPEEDtv.com, Thanks to our friends at SPEED for working with us on this project. >> SPEED LINK
Event results and photos at: www.nasa25hour.com
> eprodius.com is a full service media development company providing websites, print media (hero cards, ads, posters, corporate identity, etc.), and media services for drivers, race teams and all types of businesses/industries. More info at: www.eprodius.com