A Constellation of Corvettes light up the 2017 HSR Classic 24 Hours of Daytona
The novel HSR Classic 24 re-enacts the 24 hours of Daytona over six (6) decades. There is action around the clock with a mix of cars of each period grouped (A-F). Each group races in four (4) one-hour sessions (3 min pit-stop required) followed by a 5-hour interval. Group A starts at noon on Saturday, Group B at 1 pm, and so forth sequencing through 24 hours ending Sunday at 1 pm. According to HSR, cars and drivers from 19 countries were represented. It takes preparation, teamwork, stamina and luck to finish all four stages let alone win out.
A trio of Corvettes in Group A finished all four stages with # 14 1969 Matt Parent/Tony Garmey winning the GT class in a 1969 Corvette that’s a copy of the Owens Corning Corvettes from 1971.
Preparation paid off with flawless pit stops called by a pro and solving a tire problem that could have spelled the end.
Seven cumulative laps behind were # 17 1964 enduro racing veterans Bruce Trenery/Camilo Steuer (from Columbia) and # 81 1964 Mike Moss/Dennis Olthoff (from South Africa).
Eric Rotourier’s # 88 1980 ex Doug Rowe big block, Group B winner in 2015, again qualified fastest piloted by phenom Jules Gounon (FR) ADAC-GT Masters 2017 champion in Callaway’s C7-GT3.
A half-shaft broke in the first stage that put the car on the trailer. Despite repairs using parts borrowed from Tony Garmey, a locked transmission and broken starter motor finally turned the French team into spectators for the rest of the spectacle.
Group E was everything a Corvette racing fan could wish for. Word leaked out that Pratt & Miller GTLM C7.R chassis 003 would be delivered to a new owner at Daytona.
Dickie Meaden (from the UK) and new owner Gerard Lopez (from Luxemberg, ranked among the world’s top 10 car collectors) turned the occasion into a “shake out” run to the delight of all.
Legendary driver Ron Fellows teamed up with his son Sam in Dave Robert’s # 02 2005 World Challenge Corvette - the same car Ron raced for Dave back when it was yellow and sponsored by Cragar Wheels. They fell a dismal 52 laps behind after several attempts by the CRP team of Nick Short to fix the tranny fell short (no pun intended).
Meanwhile A.J. Henriksen abandoned the rather meaningless (for him) Trans Am finale for the HSR Classic 24. Great move as he and Adam Andretti won their class in his EEC C6 # 44 2008 Corvette normally raced in the Trans Am series.
Three Grand Am DP Corvettes also raced at Daytona. John Reisman/Eric Curran in the # 33 ex Whelen got the HSR Classic 24 win over Timmy Rivers/J.C. France in the # 9 Action Express, each completing 86 laps.
Will Hubbell piloted # 230, another ex Whelen DP in the Historic races.
The shorter HSR Historic races were the debut for a re-creation by Fabulous Restorations (George Haddad) of the # 6 Owens Corning Corvette that Tony DeLorenzo raced in 1970 at Daytona. George engaged pro racer Dieter Quester (from Austria) to turn a few laps in this masterpiece built primarily for show. (check out 1970 race footage).
George also brought Corvette HOF original designer Randy Wittine, HOF engineer Gib Hufstader and veteran journalist Walt Thurn to help celebrate.
Brad Briscoe with the Tony Garmey Seattle contingent raced the # 15 1975 Greenwood 010 chassis originally built for Sam Mancuso. The car which had not seen action for decades won its class in Group 5 with Burt Greenwood present as an invited guest.
Harry Dinwiddie also entered his # 48 ex John Caruso/Phil Currin Corvette which is looking for a new home. There is no better example of a C3 beginning as a 1972 SCCA Club race car and morphing through several iterations into a 1982 full-blown IMSA GTO wide-body.
John “Babe” Branscombe who hails from New Hampshire seems to have an affinity for Daytona. The reason might be that his # 38 C5 GT1 was originally built in 2002 by local Troy Flis for the Grand Am Sports Car Class. Babe bought the wreck from Troy and re-built it.
Our thanks go out to Larry VanScoy for his great action photos.
The next HSR Classic 24 is in Nov 2019.
Results compiled by Jan Hyde
The next HSR Classic 24 is in Nov 2019.