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Achilles Motorsport and Nitto at the 2008 25 Hours of Thunderhill
December 22, 2008
By National Auto Sport Association

For the third year in a row Nitto Tire attended the 25 Hours of Thunderhill race, presented by the United States Air force at Thunderhill race way in Willows, California. On December 6th Nitto Tire made history by becoming the first Tire Manufacturer to win this prestigious race two years in a row. Nitto sponsored team Achilles Motorsport from Fresno, California. Equipped with a BMW M3, Nitto's D.O.T approved road race radial NT01 tires and ROTORA brakes Achilles Motorsport won their class and finished 2nd over all 14 seconds behind the overall winning team on the lead lap. The team also takes home the over two liter trophy. Achilles Motorsport competed in E0 class, which is the fastest class that requires D.O.T. tires.

25 Hours of Thunderhill, presented by the United States Air force is the world's longest endurance race. This grueling race draws competitors from a wide motor sport racing field: from factory teams such as Mazdaspeed and Honda to tire manufacturers like Nitto Tire, BF Goodrich, Toyo, etc. Professional drivers along side amature enthusiasts compete in cars as varied as Daytona Prototypes, GrandAm series BMWs, Mustangs and Playboy series MX5 Cup cars in this challenging race year after year.

This year the race started under a clear blue California sky. With the wave of the green flag the 68 car field stormed through turn one. Starting from the middle of the pack it was a chaotic start for Achilles Motorsport, however after a few laps the BMW M3 settled into a comfortable low 02:00:00 minute lap times steadily moving up the field. Team driver VJ Mirzayan attributed their success to the dependability of BMW motor cars, Nitto Tire's road race radial NT01 and unsurpassed stopping power of ROTORA brakes. Team owner and driver Marc Ghafouri added: "with the amazing grip of NT01s under me and ROTORA brakes to slow me down, I had complete confidence in the car to pass any where I wanted on the track and move up the field."

As one would expect the competition was extremely strong in a race of this caliber. In fact Achilles Motorsport battled the Honda team Dreams Motorports virtually from the start of the race, trading positions with every fuel stop. After 25 hours of racing Achilles Motorsport BMW M3 passed the 2009 Honda Civic with 20 minutes remaining on the clock to finish 9 seconds ahead of Dreams Motorsports and 14 seconds behind the over all winning team. Achilles Motorport driver Billy Johnson, from the GrandAm series, set the fastest E0 class lap of 01:57:203 for the race.

Team Achilles Motorsport is extremely pleased to bring back the championship to Nitto Tire company. We could not have competed at the level we did in such a challenging race with out the hard work of our team led by chief Mechanic Mino Iorgoveanu, steady hand of car chief Robert Rayburn and drivers Boris Nizon, Ara Malkassian, Gil Caravantes, and Billy Johnson. In addition to Nitto Tire www.nittotire.com and ROTORA brakes, Piloti Shoes www.piloti.com, KW Suspension www.kwsuspension.com, PIAA lights www.piaa.com, the law firm of Davis Wright LLP, BMWCCA Los Angeles chapter were additional sponsors who made this historic win possible.

Team Achilles Motorport also thanks Jerry Kunzman from NASA www.nasaproracing.com for putting on another fantastic race and Thunderhill raceway for hosting the race. Thunderhill raceway just completed a multi million dollar capital investment on the track which made the over-two second faster lap times from last year possible.

National Auto Sport Association