U.S. Race Car Driver Hal Prewitt Earns another International Sports Car Racing Podium This Past Weekend in Lithuania
Second-Place Class Finish in ENEOS 1000km Race in Palanga, Lithuania Continues Successful Season; Fine-Art Photographer and Tech Pioneer Brings Lithuanian-American Pride to Podium
PALANGA, Lithuania (July 21, 2015) – Fine-art photographer and accomplished U.S. race car driver, Hal Prewitt, raced to a podium finish Saturday in the ENEOS 100km Race in Palanga, Lithuania, another notable accomplishment in a successful season of sports car racing that is on pace to be the best of his career.
The second-place Class D (Diesel) finish was a symbolic “home” triumph for Prewitt, an American of Lithuanian descent, who was competing for the first time in a country his Mother’s side of the family called home. Prewitt and his fellow competitors soon felt right at home as well.
“Palanga provided a warm welcome for all of the race teams, hosting a street parade and driver opening ceremony,” Prewitt said. “It was especially heartwarming to see the Lithuanian community turn out with in excess of 50,000 fans in attendance. After seeing so many blonde-haired and blue-eyed people, I now know where mine originates.”
Prewitt co-drove the Dutch-based Cor Euser Racing No. 36 Drink Florida Orange Juice BMW 120D to the runner-up class showing with fellow American, Jim Briody, and their German teammate, Dirk Schulz.
“I started and finished the race driving four one-hour-plus stints, or almost half of the 10-hour race after setting the fastest qualifying lap of 1:26.494 for the team,” Prewitt said. “Racing on modified streets rather than a dedicated race track was especially challenging. Safety barriers were lacking, there were many things to hit, and other drivers were inexperienced. We had a talented team and very experienced drivers comfortable with driving in all track and weather conditions.
Unique even by temporary road course standards, the 1000km Palanga circuit is comprised of public roads and features a “cloverleaf” overpass that serves as the Palanga-Kretinga-Klaipeda highway intersection most of the year.
“We started out in dry conditions, then rain began and we went to intermediate tires,” said team owner Euser. It was very hard to see with the downpour and so much road spray, the track had two types of tarmac and spots where it was new were like ice with no grip. The water never completely dried, leaving a little film, yet the drivers ran steady and stayed out of trouble putting in the laps. There were lots of other cars spinning and crashing and we were lucky not to get hit by an overzealous driver.”
Briody, the most experienced active American driver in international sports car endurance racing, actually had fun in the wet conditions.
“Racing on this course was interesting,” Briody said. “Our car handled very well, especially in the wet conditions. I found myself having fun hydroplaning and had to work hard to stay on the pavement.”
Schulz joined his teammates in steering clear of the tricky conditions that took a toll on many competitors.
“I generally like to drive faster cars but our low-power diesel was a good choice for this long distance race,” Schulz said. “It was a challenge to keep the car on the slippery track and avoid contact with other drivers, especially when they were crashing into the barriers in the chicane.”
The No. 36 BMW team improved more positions, from start to finish, than any other team in the 1000km race
“Our results again prove tactics in endurance racing often win over sheer speed,” Prewitt said. “As one of the slowest cars in the field of 42, our low power BMW 120D was out matched. We advanced from our starting position of 39th overall and sixth in a class of six to finish 15th overall and second in our division, the best improvement in the entire field. Key to our performance was the fact our diesel could run about seven hours without a fuel stop, saving us valuable time. The team minimized tire changes, the car ran flawlessly and the drivers did exceptionally well in dry and wet conditions.”
In a professional driving career that now spans 196 races – including 56 international endurance events – Prewitt, who has residences both in Park City, Utah, and Miami Beach, Florida, has earned 73 first-place finishes and 115 total podiums. He has competed with Cor Euser Racing since 2009, and Palanga was his 16th podium with the team.
- 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 later this year and always takes time to hone his fine-art photographic skills while racing around the world. The photograph below was one of several Prewitt took before the 1000km Race at the nearby Palanga Pier over the Baltic Sea.
- The Palanga podium continued Prewitt’s 2015 success and added to what has been an amazing run of career success in Cor Euser Racing BMW 120Ds. Prewitt first won in one of the steady BMWs in his 2010 debut in the 24 Hours of Dubai, where Briody and Euser were among his co-drivers. “It's not the best looking nor the fastest car, making it somewhat difficult to pass other cars over short distance tracks,” Prewitt said. “In the end, these things may not be that important when our objective is to stand on the podium. People who criticize these little cars should note our finishing results over fancier Porsches, bigger BMWs and other cars.”
- Although the Palanga race was not part of the championship, Prewitt currently ranks eighth out of 647 drivers competing in the 2015 International Endurance Series (IES). His successful 2015 IES season to date began in January with another 24 Hours of Dubai victory in the A5 class. He also co-drove the Cor Euser Racing Lotus Evora GT4 to the SP3-class victory in the IES 12 Hours of Zandvoort in Holland in late May. “It's been an extremely busy racing season these last few months,” Prewitt said. “I'm looking forward to having a break until the end of August. I'll be focusing on getting some needed rest at our home in Miami Beach and working on the gallery in Park City. I'll be back on the track August 29 for the 24 Hours of Zolder in Belgium.”
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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