Fourth consecutive class win for Nitto at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill
At the end of 25 hours the team with the most laps in each class is declared the winner. Nitto sponsored team, Bullet Performance, campaigned a BMW E36 M3 in the E0 class, which is the fastest class that requires drivers to use street-legal tires. After a grueling race, the team finished first in their class, running Nitto’s NT01 radials. When compared to faster classes, which have the competitive advantage of using race slicks, changing more tires and carrying more fuel, the team finished second overall. This is Nitto’s fourth consecutive class win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and the team’s third win.
Team Nitto Tire/Bullet Performance got off to a shaky start, qualifying 17th overall and 6th in their class in a field of 70 drivers. Despite this, when the flag dropped, the team settled into a good and consistent pace, knowing the key to their success would be to avoid costly pit stops resulting from broken parts. The pace allowed them to remain competitive while preserving both fuel and tires. When asked about the pace, driver Ralph Warren explained, “We were not the fastest car in our class, but that that was part of our plan. We took great care of our car and spent less time in the pits than our competition. We never came behind the wall for repairs and got tremendous fuel mileage.” These measures resulted in fewer pit stops compared to other teams in the class.
The team was also well equipped to handle changing weather conditions. Driver Brett Strom explained, “This year the Nitto NT01 tire was particularly well suited for this race. Changing conditions meant other teams had to change tires much more often than us. When the rain came, we just stayed out and kept running. This gave us a huge advantage.”
These strategies paid off. Despite fierce class competition, Team Nitto Tire/Bullet Performance initially took the lead at the four-hour mark and held on to this lead until the finish line. After 25 hours of racing, 608 laps completed and weather conditions ranging from sunny and dry to wet and muddy, Bullet Performance took first place in the E0 class. When compared to the fastest ES class, the team finished second overall and a mere 20 laps behind the first-place winner, a Rolex GT-series Porsche.
“We are extremely happy with the performance of the team and the NT01,” said Harry Kong, from Nitto’s marketing department. “This is the team’s third win in the last four years, showing their skill and consistency. The fact that they were able to use the same tire rain or shine shows the versatility of the NT01.”
Nitto plans to return to the 25 Hours of Thunderhill next year to defend its win.