RACE: NASA: Porsche 25 Hours of Thunderhill report

GRE Racing 1-2 Finish at the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill Sets World Record for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Race Car NEWPORT BEACH, CA -- December 22 - In a torrential rain storm, darkness and 71 other competitors, the two-car Porsche team of GRE...

GRE Racing 1-2 Finish at the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill
Sets World Record for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Race Car

NEWPORT BEACH, CA -- December 22 - In a torrential rain storm, darkness and 71 other competitors, the two-car Porsche team of GRE Racing claimed an impressive 1-2 finish in the recent National Auto Sport Association (NASA) 25 Hours of Thunderhill, setting a world record for both endurance and distance for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car.

In the longest sports car race in North America, the #64 and #26 Glenn Yee Motorsports-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers completed 622 circuits of Thunderhill's 14-turn, 3-mile road course with both cars finishing on the same lap.

Starting from pole position (#64) and 5th (#26) on the grid, the Power Porsche-Newport Beach GT3s quickly established themselves at the front of the pack early in the event. From the second hour on, both cars stayed out of trouble and in the top-3 as drive rs battled the elements, traffic and ever-changing track conditions to cross the checker just one car length apart -- after an amazing 25 hours and 1866 miles of racing.

Said winning owner/driver Geoff Escalette of Newport Beach, CA, "What an incredible experience. It's still sinking in. We've won shorter 3- and 4-hour events, but to come here and take the top two spots in a 25-hour race is unreal. As always, the Glenn Yee Motorsports crew worked their magic on both cars making sure they'd be there at the end. And of course we couldn't have done it without the help of Yokohama, who provided us with just the right tires, no matter what the conditions."

En route to their 1-2 finish, neither car encountered any mechanical issues with both Porsches running as strongly at the finish as they did at the start. A minor on-track altercation and a cross-threaded wheel axle cost the #26 a couple laps at the race's mid-way point, but strong driving and fortunate timing during a subsequent caution period allowed the #26 to make up its lost laps by the end.

The driver lineup in both GRE Racing Porsches included a wealth of endurance racing experience. Geoff Escalette and ALMS veteran Craig Stanton drove stints in both the racing-winning #64 Porsche and its #26 sister car, while the #64 drivers consisted of AL MS regulars Kelly Collins and Hugh Plumb, Glenn Yee Motorsports driver Dave Royce and Road & Track Magazine senior editor, Kim Wolfkill. The #26 GT3 was piloted by ALMS drivers Brian Cunningham and Mike Lewis along with GYM regular John Stott.

In addition to being the team's first 25-hour win, it was also the first for Porsche's venerable GT3 Cup race car. While it has won its class in many endurance events, this victory marks the first time a GT3 Cup has taken overall honors in a race 24 hours or longer.

In 2003, GRE Racing campaigned a Porsche GT3 Cup in NASA and SCCA regional endurance competition and the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Endurance Series. The team won regional championships with NASA and the SCCA as well as recording one podium and three top-10 finishes in four Grand-Am Cup events.

For 2004, GRE Racing plans to compete in both the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup with a pair of Porsche GT3 Cup cars. GRE Racing's primary sponsors include Power Porsche-Newport Beach, one of North America's premier Porsche dealerships, Mecha nix Wear, the leader in protective mechanic's gloves, Yokohama Tires, Eibach Springs, Oakley, Motul lubricants and Stuttgart Performance.

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Series SCCA