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Youngest Sports Car Champion Competing in Longest US Race

By James Fish
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 6, 2012 Last Updated: December 8, 2012
Related articles: Sports » Motorsports
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Tristan Nunez drives to victory in the final race of the 2012 IMSA Lites season, Oct 19 at Road Atlanta. He earned 10 win and 11 poles in the 12-race schedule to become, at 16, the youngest sports car champion in history. On Dec. 8 he will drive his first endurance race, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)

Tristan Nunez drives to victory in the final race of the 2012 IMSA Lites season, Oct 19 at Road Atlanta. He earned 10 win and 11 poles in the 12-race schedule to become, at 16, the youngest sports car champion in history. On Dec. 8 he will drive his first endurance race, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)

Tristan Nunez, who at 17 is the youngest sports car champion in history, will be joining the team of major league baseball’s C.J. Wilson this weekend for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the longest endurance race in the United States.

“Tristan’s combination of youth, enthusiasm, talent, and personality are a great mix to have at the top echelons of endurance racing,” said Wilson in a press release. “I picked Tristan for my team because I formed a bond with him a few years ago when we first began racing.”

Nunez, who topped the IMSA Prototype Lites series in his first full season of racing (he was 17 when he took the title) will be joined by several other young stars: Stevan McAleer, 2012 Playboy Mazda MX5 champ; Spencer Pigot who finished second in USF2000; and 2011 MX5 Cup Shootout winner Elliott Skeer.

“I am so excited to race with C.J. [Wilson],” said Nunez. “I’m beyond stoked to team up with Spencer [Pigot] and the other Mazda drivers Stevan [McAleer] and Elliott [Skeer].  I think it will be a real kick ass team!  I am so thankful to C.J. for giving me this amazing opportunity to race my first endurance race with his team and I hope that we can give him some great results.”

The quartet will share a Mazda Miata MX-5, one of three C.J. Wilson Racing has entered.

“I came up with the concept a couple months ago to put these future stars together in one car,” Wilson told racer.com. “They’re all such good, real, talented guys. I raced against Tristan and Spencer in Skip Barber four years ago when they were 14 or 15. Now they’re winning championships. I’m not driving so helping them grow is the big thing.”

“No other car on the grid will have this much young talent,” Wilson concluded.

A much younger Tristan Nunez sits with Los Angeles Angels pitcher and race-team owner C.J. Wilson in 2009, early in both men’s racing careers. (TristanNunez.com)

A much younger Tristan Nunez sits with Los Angeles Angels pitcher and race-team owner C.J. Wilson in 2009, early in both men’s racing careers. (TristanNunez.com)

The NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill is an endurance epic, which has attracted 74 confirmed entries so far, across a wide range of classes. Sanctioned by National Auto Sport Association,  the race is affordable to enter and fun to contest; national stars, seasoned regional veteran and hopeful young guns get a chance to drive a very demanding endurance event on Thunderhill’s 3-mile, fifteen-turn course.

There won’t be a shortage of big-name drivers: ALMS, Grand Am, and World Challenge aces Burt and Brian Frisselle, Mark Wilkins, Randy Pobst, Michael Valiante, Johannes Van Overbeek, Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley, Pierre Ehret, Charles Espenlaub, and Mike Hedlund will be competing, driving everything from GTC Porsches to Norma E-Sports Racers.

The event is a chance to compete away from TV cameras, with no downsides if the car spends time in the pits. The competition is serious, but the pressure is lower. Of course, racers want to win, and nothing beats beating the field; no one will be going slowly.

The NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill takes the green flag at 11 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, Dec. 8.

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