This past weekend Davidson Racing entered two very different race cars in the Thunderhill 25 hour out in Willows California.
One of the cars was a Norma, powered by a 2.4 litre naturally aspirated Honda motor and the other an Eagle Superlite which was powered by an Elan V8.
Surprisingly, for how different these two cars are, they managed to run comparable lap times around the Thunderhill circuit.
The Norma is a wicked race car. It is relatively light, nimble and has lots of downforce. With a little over 200 horses, down about 450 from the Eagle, the Norma was able to bang off some incredible laps, in fact, setting the Thunderhill 25 hour fastest race lap to date. The Eagle drivers, including myself were a little bit nervous of just how capable this little race car was.
The Eagle is a monster. A real brute in every way. Stout and strong with one key achilles heal… its weight. Thunderhill is a pretty tight track with many slow corners. Downforce is critically important to get through the tighter sections and with a few key off camber corners, weight was also an important component. We had the power to blast down the straights, sometimes at over 50 mph faster than the cars we were passing but that little Norma was incredible in the tight stuff.
So each car had its strengths and its weaknesses.
One key component to an endurance race, like this, is reliability and unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be for the Norma. After setting some incredible lap times early in the race, it ultimately was retired due to some mechanical issues that could not be resolved.
For the Eagle, we had our fair share of challenges, from a coil failure to some contact and subsequent repairs but overall, we ran very strong all race long. We ran up front and then would have a small issue which would put us back 5-10 laps and then we would make it up again and before encountering another challenge. It seemed like for every step forward we would take one back but that kept the race exciting right until the final hour.
Our main competition, a couple of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, did not have flawless runs either and it seemed any of us could land the top spot of the podium right up until the end of the race.
Ultimately, we ended up 2nd which was an incredible achievement for the team.
I would like to thank my co drivers – Burt Frisselle, Brian Frisselle, Anthony Lazzaro, Michael Valiante and Troy Castaneda as well as the entire Davidson Racing team for their hard work. I look forward to next years 25 and going for the win!
It’s not checked off the bucket list until it’s a win!