Mercer Motorsports Thunderhill 25H final report

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Mercer Motorsports overcame a 20-lap deficit to repeat as overall champions of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill today, despite three axle changes and a 15-minute stop-and-go penalty. The Jerry Woods Enterprises and Motorsports Solutions-prepped 2010...

Mercer Motorsports overcame a 20-lap deficit to repeat as overall champions of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill today, despite three axle changes and a 15-minute stop-and-go penalty. The Jerry Woods Enterprises and Motorsports Solutions-prepped 2010 Porsche GT3 Cup Car, driven by Jon Fogarty, Guy Cosmo, Johannes van Overbeek, Tommy Sadler and Rich Walton, completed 628 laps in its run to victory. Fogarty claimed fastest race lap as well, and Porsche won for the second consecutive year in a 911 GT3 Cup Car and for the fourth time in seven years, capping the team's stellar weekend.

After starting from pole position, the team had an incident-free early portion of the race before an axle issue at the 1:45:00 mark forced the first of three axle changes. Tommy Sadler, two-time ALMS Crew Chief of the Year and one of Mercer's drivers in the 25 Hours, pulled double duty by getting out of the racecar and driving to Sonoma, CA and back with a second set of spare axles - a 254-mile round trip. After a 15-minute sit in the penalty box for passing under yellow just prior to the eight-hour mark, the team elected to install the axles Sadler retrieved. From that point on, the team was able to run trouble-free.

Impressively, the team ran just more than seven hours on one set of Michelin rain tires, at times lapping 15-20 seconds faster than its competition. One of the tires is now bound for display at the PRI Show, demonstrating Michelin's extreme durability and performance. The race was run in constantly-changing conditions, with periods of rain, dry, mist and fog. Coupled with the field of more than 70 cars, the weather made for an incident-packed race.

Thomas Blam, who called the team's strategy, said, "We buried ourselves in a pretty deep hole during the first third of the race, but our crew guys did an awesome job in replacing the axles and in the pit stops. We lost very little time with our mechanical fixes, and were making up minutes at a time in our pit stops. Coming from 20 laps down, we were back in the lead by midnight, which is a testament to our crew's work ethic and skill, and the talent of our drivers. It's really great to have won for the second time here - it's fun to see the guys we always run into at ALMS and Grand-Am races out just for the love of the sport, to have a good time."

"The combination of our car, our drivers and our Michelins allowed us to make up 15-20 seconds per laps at times in the wet, which we really needed to claw back. Our crew took themselves very seriously and did a stellar job. Scott Mercer has assembled a group of professionals for the 25 Hours who are great at what they do, but also really enjoy themselves, and it's been a great deal of fun to work in that environment."

-source: mercer motorsports

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