U.S. Race Car Driver Hal Prewitt Overcomes Challenging 24-Hour Race in France to Advance in International Endurance Series Standings
Renowned Photographer and Tech Pioneer Remains Top American in International Endurance Series after Second-Place Class Finish in 24 Hours of Circuit Paul Ricard
Le CASTELLET, France (July 14, 2015) – Artist and accomplished American race car driver, Hal Prewitt, overcame his hardest race of the 2015 season in this past weekend’s 24 Hours of Circuit Paul Ricard where he co-drove to a second-place class finish and advanced in the top-10 of the International Endurance Series championship standings.
Prewitt co-drove both the No. 160 Lotus Evora and the No. 83 BMW M3, which are prepared by the Dutch-based team, Cor Euser Racing, and backed by Drink Florida Orange Juice.
“To win an endurance race requires about 40% driving skills, 40% tactics and 20% luck,” Prewitt said. “The winning team is usually the one who had the least problems. For this race, almost nothing went well, yet our results were an amazing feat.”
Prewitt and his co-drivers overcame the usual pitfalls of around-the-clock endurance racing as well as the extreme Southern France summer heat that made for in-car temperatures of more than 120 degrees during the daylight hours.
Prewitt was joined by fellow American driver, Vic Rice, in pulling “double duty” in both cars. They were joined by team owner and driver, Cor Euser, and his fellow Dutchman, Rick Varberg, in the Lotus while Jim Briody and Lance Miller made it four Americans in total in the BMW that they shared with New Zealander, Maurice O’Reilley.
Rice was at the wheel of the Lotus in a Friday test session when the first sign of the challenging race ahead literally erupted. A failed power-steering line sprayed fluid on to the car’s hot exhaust and an instant fire destroyed the wiring, parts of the bodywork and key engine parts on the Lotus.
The Cor Euser Racing team worked continuously for nearly 24 hours to fix the Lotus that was ready to go by the time the race started Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. local time.
"It was an all-night affair repairing the cars to make race day," said team owner Euser. "Not only did we fix fire damage, but as the sun started to rise we discovered the clutch had to be replaced. The car started from the pits, last in the race with drivers who had not practiced day or night, and after two hours we were running first in class. An amazing accomplishment for all."
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After opening stints by Rice and Varberg, Prewitt was the third driver in the Lotus and led the SP3 class during his two-hour stint.
Despite the setback, the Lotus clearly had the pace needed to earn a second-straight International Endurance Series victory. Prewitt and his teammates won the SP3 class in the Lotus one race earlier in May’s 12 Hours of Zandvoort in Holland, but a repeat victory was not in the cards at Paul Ricard.
Unfortunately, a repeat fire was, and the Lotus retired from the race just short of the 11-hour mark when its engine expired in spectacular fashion. Varberg was at the wheel at the time and escaped uninjured after the blaze was extinguished on pit road by the quick-acting Cor Euser Racing crew. The No. 160 completed 217 laps, enough race distance to be classified fourth in SP3 in the final standings.
With the Lotus retired, Prewitt shifted his focus solely to the BMW that was battling some of its own mechanical gremlins. A major issue was a fuel-pickup problem that ultimately led to burned spark plugs and a significant amount of time in the pits to avoid another engine failure.
The BMW and the team never quit, however, and Prewitt – driving four hours, led the race and set the No. 83’s fastest lap in the early stages – crossing the finish line on Sunday afternoon to take a second-place finish in the A5 class.
Although the BMW’s delays left the team well out of first place contention, their collective perseverance outpaced the rest of the A5 competition with 261 total laps completed.
“This was a tough event, one I won't forget anytime soon,” Prewitt said. “We had two fires in the Lotus and the BMW had non-stop fuel pick-up problems that cost us the class win. In the end, not the results we wanted but better than many other teams.”
Prewitt also made a move up in the season point standings of the International Endurance Series, a professional sports car racing championship contested throughout Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“I moved up slightly in the season standings and currently rank eighth out of 647 drivers. Racing at the beautiful Circuit Paul Ricard on the French Riviera was worth the long trip and many challenges. A special thanks to the team for their herculean efforts in overcoming obstacles which allowed us to stay in the game.”
Next up for Hal Prewitt and Cor Euser Racing is this weekend’s 16th annual ENEOS 1000km Race that will take place on the circuit at Palanga in Palanga, Lithuania, July 15 – 18.
- Prewitt has raced with Euser since 2009 and Paul Ricard was his 15th podium with Cor Euser Racing. The race was Prewitt’s 55th sports car endurance race, of which 30 have been 24 hour races. In total, in a professional driving career that has now spanned 195 races, Prewitt, who has residences both in Park City, Utah, and Miami Beach, Florida, has earned 73 first-place finishes and 114 total podiums.
- In addition to being a race car driver, inventor and technical pioneer, Prewitt is also an esteemed photographer. He is opening a new gallery in Park City, Utah later this year and always takes time to hone his fine-art photographic skills while racing around the world. The photograph below was shot in 2014 while exploring Capitol Reef Park, Utah. The image was taken from the rear window of a very old truck abandoned off a dirt road that crosses the Park.
About Hal Prewitt
At just 14, Hal Prewitt obtained a junked car, rebuilt it and taught himself to drive. As a teen he began autocross racing, flying planes, painting, building electronics and programming. The combination would lead to a high-flying career in computer software and hardware, race car driving and, eventually, photography. He was 38 in 1992, when he sold his tech company to Sony and turned his full attention to parenting his two young sons. Later he pursued and became a successful international race car driver. A former elected official and an enthusiastic participant on several government, for profit and non-profit boards, Prewitt is at the top of his game in racing. He also manages investments, photographs, grows oranges and operates Prewitt Enterprises, LLC in Florida and Utah.
About Hal Prewitt Photography
Traveling the world on photo projects, business missions and attending races lets Prewitt explore amazing locations and capture a wide array of magical moments. Soon, his new gallery in Park City, Utah, will display many of his majestic wildlife and landscape images which have become collectors’ items. “Capturing a great scene is not unlike winning a race,” Prewitt said. “When it all comes together at that ideal spot and special moment, it’s that unique experience like winning each race, a moment that will never be repeated.”
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