Two Factory Five race teams ran in endurance races over the weekend. Factory Five Director of R&D Jim Schenck went down to Road Atlanta with Challenge Series drivers John George and Rafe Baskin to run the NASA’s “Santa’s Toy Run” 8 Hour Enduro. Meanwhile, on the other coast, Team PDG led by Richard and Yvonne Migliori once again ran their race GTM in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
Photo courtesy www.johngeorgeracing.com.
It was a tough weekend for both teams. At Road Atlanta, Jim’s #52 Challenge Car had a clogged coolant hose during a practice session, so they pulled it into the pits and John took his #48 Challenge Car out to start the enduro. Unfortunately, after 30 minutes, John’s engine went and the car was towed back into the pits.
Jim’s coolant system issue is fixed and the crew swaps cars again getting #52 back out on the track with the team 20 laps down. John and Rafe swapped doing 1 hour 15 minute stints in the car which ran great for 5-6 hours. With 30 minutes remaining in the race, the engine expired right in front of the team on the front straight. They heard the tires lockup, then #52 skidding off the track into turn 1 and stopped by the gravel trap. Rafe, who was driving at the time, got out of the car safely. Turns out that Jim’s crank broke at the front, as opposed to John’s, whose crank broke at the back. The team would come in 17th out of 43 racers.
“Even with all of this carnage, the 8 hour event was such a blast,” said John on his website. “Great crew as always, good pit stops, consistent times set on track, a great time had by all! I cannot wait to do it again next year.” Click here to read John’s full report.
Photo courtesy Steven Cabana from Head on Photo.
Team PDG also had a rough weekend during their run at this year’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The team qualified 15th with all drivers running sub-1:54 lap times during practice with the team thinking they might actually break the 1:50 mark for qualifying. Unfortunately, during some more practice laps, a sports racer tried to pass them in turn 11 and impacted the left side of the car, bending the rear rim and the steering tie rod. The repaired the damage and put the car in the trailer until race time.
When the race started, Team PDG came out strong with driver Davy Jones moving the team up to 10th place in just two laps. However, on lap three, the spotter called in fire under the car, and Davy drove the GTM into the corner work station. Davy got out the GTM safely as the fire started to come up through the rear 1/4 window scoops. A corner worker was able to keep the flames from getting too bad as they waited for a fire truck to arrive, but as it was a fuel fire, it was tough to completely extinguish. Team PDG thanks Pat (the corner worker), the fire crew, and Mike Easton for getting the GTM back into their pit space.
With the car back in the pits, and Davy safe, the team quickly got to work on rebuilding the car. The worked all afternoon getting the car ready for inspection and back on the track. The car was ready to go at 3:00 AM with 9 hours left in the race.
But as luck would have it, the spare Mass Air Flow sensor was bad right out of the box, so they had to wait for a parts store to open in the morning to get a new one. While waiting, the team prepped the car and were able to get the sensor installed with an hour and 20 minutes left in the race.
It was a very rough race for Team PDG, but they persevered and were able to finish the race. Click here to read more about the 2013 25 Hours of Thunderhill.