Corvettes of Walo Bertschinger and Dave Roberts among the winners at the 2018 HSR Classic 24 Daytona
A variety of cars and manufacture, piloted by entrants from 19 countries, compete in one of six (6) groups, corresponding to the decade when they were raced. They appear in four (4) separate sessions, day and night over a span of 24 hours that decide the top dogs at the HSR Classic 24 now in its 4th year.
Group A (from the 1960s)
This 1966 Corvette Grand Sport Roadster piloted by Walo Bertschinger (Swiss) was the class of the field. Chassis 006 is a continuation model of 001 built by Duntov Motor Company under official license and powered by a 427 cubic inch big block motor. Inadvertent penalties for missing a caution flag and minor pit road infractions (detected by radar gun) prevented an outright win in the production class for which it was originally intended before GM brass stopped the program in its tracks. Ride along here.
This specially prepared 1957 Corvette piloted by Dave Roberts (and Martin Lauber) will be featured as Pick of the Litter in Vintage Motorsport Magazine. Straight axle models like this first appeared in closed hardtop endurance trim in 1962 when the Daytona Speedway opened the road course. It has an extensive history and completed all four sessions. Ride along here.
Group B (late ‘60s to late ‘70s)
Walo Bertschinger invited ex Formula One legend Arturo Merzario (Italian) to co-pilot this 1968 Corvette once raced by Wiley Duran. The diminutive Merzario, still fit at 75, and his Italian crew helped the duo to third overall and first in GT to win the B.R.M. Chronologies watch. The car has been transformed into a durable brute.
Not so reliable was the 1979 # 88 built and first raced by Canadian legend Maurice (Mo) Carter. This crowd favorite has now fallen short three times in four attempts but not for lack of trying by the delightful French team headed by owner Eric Routerer. Pro Racer Jordan Taylor was at the wheel when the clutch failed halfway through the first session. Replacement requires engine removal and a huge amount of work which ended the action for this rather complicated beast. Ride along here while it lasted.
Group E (2003 and up)
J.C. France (a voluble descendent of NASCAR family) and Pro Racer Joa Barboza of the Action Express team shared the ride in this C7 Daytona Prototype that appeared in 2013. Lively supporters were on hand day and night to celebrate to a top-class finish.
Sensors on the right rear brakes warned of ominous heat on Robert Blain’s beautiful 2004 Pratt & Miller C5/C6 chassis 013. The crew was baffled so they decided it was best to park it, find a fix and race another day.
Zach Arnold brought out this 2003 C6 Corvette raced in the Rolex Grand Am Sports Car Series. It was still in good condition years later when he found it in Canada.
The 2018 HSR Classic 24 was a maiden run for this 2005 C6 Rolex Grand Am Corvette, just re-conditioned by original builder Tommy Riggins. Timing is everything. Chris Liebenberg of 3 Dog Garage got it from the estate of John Stevenson and shared the ride with his friend Steve Schuler. Stars & stripes graphics will be applied to make it look like when raced by Vic Rice for Stevenson’s now defunct team.
Highlights from HSR Sprint and Endurance races preceding the Classic 24
37 cars started the race for groups 2-3-5. # 6 Brad Hoyt won class MP1 and Group 5 overall. # 8 Ron Ramsey won class HP2 and was 10th overall.
38 cars started the race for groups 8-9-10. # 09 Raymond Webb won class GT1B in this ex Riggins C5 Kerry Hitt ACP bodied Grand Am and was 16th overall.
16 cars started the race for groups 6-7-11. # 33 John Reisman won class DP1 and Group 6 overall in this ex Whelen DP1.
34 cars started the H/P/GTM 26 lap endurance race. # 230 Will Hubbell and Pro Eric Curran were outright winners. A family commitment kept them from battling with the # 9 Action Express in the Classic 24 closing session on Sunday.
Special thanks for photos courtesy of Mark Windecker, Larry VanScoy and John Avery.
Results compiled by Jan Hyde.