For the eleventh time, NASA held the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in Northern California. Unlike a Daytona or Le Mans, this race has a reputation as a challenging one-off year-end shootout. It has a unique charm all its own with cold December weather and a mix of grassroots amateurs and high-dollar professional efforts. The winning Audi TT-RS this year, flown in from Germany, circulated 705 times covering 2016 racing miles. Green-flag lap times around the 3-mile road course range from the high 1:30s for sports racers to the low 2:20s for production cars demonstrating the diversity of equipment on track.
An hour longer than most mega endurance races meant one extra hour to test our RaceHero software. As four-time participants at this event, the value of data in endurance racing have been on our minds for a long time. We’ve been inspired by custom tools based on the AMB/MyLaps Orbits RMonitor feed and knew it could be done better.
While the teams braved sub-20F weather overnight, we worked from a dry, cozy room with the NASA timing and scoring staff on the second floor of the control tower. From the green flag, we began sending lap times and positions to the RaceHero servers and recorded thousands of passings. Lap time and position histories made it easy to watch teams claw their way through the field and suffer setbacks. Long lap times with corresponding position loss showed pit stops and mechanical repairs. Monitoring constantly-updated gaps between teams showed the close battles on track.
While we aren’t buliding RaceHero specifically for endurance racing, the Endurance-Radio.com broadcast team had us on the edge of our chairs throughout the night. Each time they would debate a strategic decision, or ponder whether a team had the pace to make up a gap, or wonder how long a car had been in the pits, we turned to each other and said, “they need RaceHero to answer that question!”
Pretty soon, we’ll give it to them and to everyone else who can’t get enough of racing. Whether you’re the racer, on the pit wall or sitting in a dry, cozy room somewhere, RaceHero will track, analyze and share your racing.