U.S. Race Car Driver Hal Prewitt Shifts Focus to Barcelona This Weekend after Top-Five Finish In the 24 Hours of Zolder
Tech Pioneer, Fine-Art Photographer and Accomplished Race Car Driver Resumes International Endurance Series Season in Spain as Top American
BARCELONA, Catalunya, Spain (September 2, 2015) – Tech pioneer, fine-art photographer and accomplished race car driver Hal Prewitt has shifted his focus to Saturday’s 24 Hours of Barcelona after a top-five class finish in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Zolder in Belgium.
Prewitt and the Cor Euser Racing team are preparing for their second 24-hour race weekend in a row but the day-long race at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, September 5 – 6, has some added significance.
Barcelona is the second to last round of the 2015 International Endurance Series (IES), a professional sports car racing championship held throughout Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Prewitt, a native Floridian who resides in Miami and Park City, Utah, is the top American in the series and currently ranks eighth overall out of the 646 drivers that have raced in the IES this year.
The important Barcelona IES round begins just days after Prewitt, and team owner and driver Cor Euser, persevered to a fifth-place finish in Zolder. The only two-driver team in the race, Prewitt and Euser battled physical fatigue and a string of minor mechanical issues with their No. 75 Drink Florida Orange Juice/Cor Euser Racing BMW 120D to make it to the finish line in Belgium.
"I learned long ago winners don't always receive public recognition, nor is that truly important for a successful or happy life,” Prewitt said. “To podium and collect another trophy is great, but this time we had higher goals. Cor and I drove this race to push the limits of our capabilities. When it was over, we certainly did that and more.”
The duo’s challenge at Zolder was made even greater after their BMW 120D was placed in the T-3 class.
“Our fifth-place finish was about the best possible in the assigned T-3 class,” Prewitt said. “Our car's configuration and small, 2-liter engine was not competitive in this class and we had little chance of winning a podium regardless of our efforts. Even with a perfect race, it was impossible to win unless the four leaders broke because they were five to 10 seconds a lap faster and carried enough fuel to avoid costly pit stops.”
Prewitt and Euser instead focused on the “higher goals” of personal achievement and pushing the limits of man and machine. The lone duo drove in a race filled with mainly four and five driver teams.
“Our decision to race with only two drivers would mean very little rest or recovery time between our stints,” Prewitt said. “Physical and mental exhaustion was a real possibility.”
The race was run in dry and steamy conditions, with temperatures in the 90s, but the heat would literally be turned up on Prewitt and Euser as the hours ticked away. At the halfway mark, the BMW began to overheat and the immediate fix was to turn on the cockpit heater to dissipate engine temperatures. The downside was the drivers having to endure temperatures nearing 150 degrees for much of their stints.
"This was a most challenging race,” Euser said. “We knew before the start there was only a small chance we would podium due to our car's limitations. Ours was a race of endurance and skill as drivers against all others. More than desired mechanical problems, a difficult track, heavy traffic, little rest and high heat that forced maximum stress on drivers, but our team performed very well.”
For Barcelona, Cor Euser Racing will prepare the team’s No. 160 Drink Florida Orange Juice/Cor Euser Racing Lotus Evora GT4, which competes in the SP3 class. Prewitt will continue his quest for the IES title co-driving the Lotus with Euser and his Dutch countryman, Huub Delnoij.
Prewitt and his teammates scored an SP3 class victory in the Lotus earlier this summer in the IES 12 Hours of Zandvoort in Holland in May. Winning co-drivers included Euser and Delnoij, an emerging 17-year-old talent who also was part of the team's fifth-place run in the Lotus at Mugello in Italy in March.
In a professional driving career spanning a total of 197 races through Zolder, Prewitt has earned 73 first-place finishes and 115 total podiums. He has competed with Cor Euser Racing since 2009, and a second-place finish two races ago in ENEOs 1000km Race in Lithuania was his 16th podium with the team.
- Prewitt powered through a drink-bottle failure in his final shift in the BMW in the Sunday afternoon heat at Zolder. “No water for the full stint and last hour of the race,” Prewitt said. “The crew suggested I come in for a drink, but I chose to stay out. I was doing great laps and feeling fine. The temperature was not as bad as the many Florida summer races I have driven.”
- The full effects of Prewitt’s late-race heroics didn’t hit until after he crossed the finish line. Even as he debriefed with the team and congratulated his fellow competitors, the Zolder circuit’s professional medical staff saw something Prewitt himself didn’t immediately realize. “On the way back to the pits, I was feeling very tired when a track doctor noticed, grabbed my arm and asked I sit down,” Prewitt said. “Within seconds there was a needle in my hand connected to an IV bag. Even though I did not experience problems driving, I had clearly reached human limits. Next time I will not go without water for so long."
- Euser left Belgium with a renewed respect for his American teammate. “Hal was as tough as they come, performed to the end and never gave up,” Euser said. “Because of the heat, I have seen many young drivers not last two hours, even with the best equipment and as part of four-driver teams. I want to do another race with him in a competitive car. We will reach the podium and write history."
- Prewitt’s international racing adventures will be chronicled in a new blog that will appear for the remainder of the international racing season on leading sports car racing web site, www.SportsCar365.com. Look for the first installment that will detail the Zolder round of Prewitt's back-to-back weekends of competition.
- In addition to being a race car driver, inventor and technical pioneer, Prewitt is also an emerging fine-art photographer. He is opening a new gallery in Park City, Utah this year and always takes time to hone his fine-art photographic skills while traveling around the world. On one fairly recent trip, Prewitt took the photograph below of Sea Lions and other unique wildlife found only in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
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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