Rearden Racing’s foray into the 14th edition of the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill (2016) started with Vesko Kozarov at the wheel, taking the green flag after qualifying the car at fourth position in the E0 class, and 20th overall from a massive field of 65 pro-level starters.
Vesko opened with a triple stint spanning the first three hours of the race. His stint, however, did no go untroubled, as he had contact in the opening hour, forcing car #33 to make an unscheduled pit stop. Team owner and driver Lara Tallman took the wheel next, but the initial bad luck didn’t stop there as Lara also made a few unscheduled stops, dropping team Rearden even further down the running order. Afterwards, Lara was able to claw back some time with her consistent driving.
Next in the driver’s seat was Kristian 'BoodooSTIG' Boodoosingh of Trinidad and Tobago for a two-hour double stint known as the transition stint– as it would make the transition from daylight into the night. Taking it in stride with quick and consistent laps, Kristian used the nighttime and lap traffic to his advantage.
Surely enough, the Rearden racing team was crawling back up the running order. Chris Lock was the final driver in the rotation of four, getting his first laps of the race during the night. Chris put in a great drive and was able to put the team within in striking distance of the front-runners after his double stint.
At around 11 p.m., things started to get interesting– the battle between Valkyrie Autosport and Rearden Racing was coming alive. Kristian took over from Lara and immediately put the hammer down. Again using the darkness to his advantage, he kept chipping away at the leaders. With the help of some great team strategy, well-rehearsed pit work by the Rearden racing crew and a well-timed caution period, the team was finally back on the same lap as the second- and third-place cars in the E0 class. On the restart, Kristian put his head down, and at the end of his stint, put the team in second place in class and one lap closer to the leaders Valkryie Autosport.
Vesko Kozarov then strapped in for the late night shift with an excellent triple stint that put team Rearden in a great position to fight for the win. Demonstrating excellent focus at one of the most critical times of the race, Vesko was setting times even faster than he did in the day! By the wee hours of the morning, the leader was being reeled in.
As the goal moved closer and closer, everyone was pushing hard with the team doing an excellent job in the pits with flawless pit stops and driver changes. Avoiding the paddock for repairs and adjustments was also a part of the team’s strategy to save time.
At 6 a.m., Kristian was once again tasked with the next transition stint going from night into day and with the Valkryie team in sight, this was the time to push! In the first half of his stint Kristian was able to set a great consistent pace and take the lead!
Now the name of the game was conservation, trying to go as quickly as possible while saving fuel and dealing with the 60-plus cars on track. This meant using more gearshifts to keep the rpms low, while still keeping the overall pace up and the car in one piece. Kristian brought the car home in the lead, handed over to Chris Lock and then it was back to Vesko!
Things were looking great with four hours left in the 25-hour race as Vesko battled for the lead, tussling back and forth with team Valkryie. They were also giving it their all, dropping their pro driver Andy Lee in to take the fight to team Rearden! With the end in sight, in the lead and with a pit stop in hand, a Rearden win was imminent, but this was not to be.
At the 23-hour mark, car #33 lost a rear axle, which ultimately put the team out of contention. After they car was repaired, the team did the best they could in the pit lane and Kristian was once again plugged in to bring #33 home! He kept it clean and consistent as the Rearden Racing Team crossed the line in second position in the E0 class!
The very nature of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill is such that finishing the race is an achievement in itself and second in class at this race would be respected by any endurance racer or top-level racer in the world– even at WEC where the races range from 6 to 24 hours.
This podium result would not have been possible without the hard work of the pit crew, their flawless pit stops and the excellent stints by all the team drivers. The Rearden Racing Team has everything to be proud of!
Article: Kristian Boodoosingh • Photos: Head-On Photos, Rearden, Kristian Boodoosingh
Team: Rearden Racing • Car: #33 Nissan 370Z Nismo • Class: E0 • Drivers: Kristian Boodoosingh, Vesko Kozarov, Chris Lock, Lara Tallman • Team Owner: Lara Tallman