The idea is simple: Pay homage to the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a round-the-clock race for vintage cars that have tackled its 3.56-mile road course and banked NASCAR turns. And bring in some of the great drivers of past and present who competed over the race’s 51-year history to race again day and night.
That’s what Historic Sportscar Racing has done for three years with its Classic 24 at Daytona presented by IMSA.
Last weekend, 165 race cars from the 1960s through a few years ago, run by teams from 18 different countries, ran from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday — six different run groups, each competing in 45-minute enduros during daytime, as well as overnight, to determine champions.
Past Rolex 24 champions raced, like Andy Wallace in a Rogers Motorsports 2005 Audi R8, and Lyn St. James co-driving Heritage Motorsports’s 1974 Porsche 911 RSR 3. Ray Evernham, who won the Daytona 500 twice as Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, co-drove a Porsche Cayman.
The classiest classics were in Group A, with cars from 1960-72 and entries including Lola T70, McLaren M1B and both Chevron B8 and B16 models, plus a Shelby GT350 and Porsche 911s.
The 1969 No. 1 Lola T70 of Gerard Lopez and Frantz Wallenborn scored the victory in Group A. David Porter scored the Group E win in his 2007 No. 18 Pescarolo Judd LMP1.
Other current and legendary drivers included SCCA/Trans-Am/American Le Mans Series champion Ron Fellows, Formula 1 champion Jochen Mass and Didier Theys.
Jacksonville racer Brian Walsh competed in his late father Jerry “Racer” Walsh’s 1971 Ford Pinto. And current Porsche driver Patrick Long drove a 1968 Porsche 911 T/R nicknamed “Jezebell” with a Jacksonville connection — Jacksonville drivers Ash Tisdell and Pete Kirill drove it to a second-in-class GTU win at the 1971 12 Hours of Sebring.
Next up for HSR is the Classic 12 Hour at Sebring, Pistons and Props, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3. More information is available at HSRRace.com.
Dan Scanlan’s video can been seen at youtube.com/watch?v=-uu4vHxM034&feature=youtu.be.