Classic Time At Daytona

Overall winning team. [Photo by Robin Thompson]

Overall winning team. [Photo by Robin Thompson]

By Jack Webster and Eddie LePine

The 2019 edition of the HSR Classic 24 at Daytona presented by IMSA was a resounding success, by any measure you could possibly come up with. Over 300 drivers, piloting over 175 cars around the historic Daytona International Speedway made for quite a spectacle and this event shows that historic car racing is alive and very well indeed.

The driver list alone was a who’s who of motorsport, with Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, John Morton, Andy Wallace, Joao Barbosa, Butch Leitzinger, Marco Werner, Dieter Quester, Kees Nierop and Andy Pilgrim – to name just a few of the drivers who participated this year.

As far as cars go, there was everything from old Porsche 911 models to modern classics like the Lowenbrau Porsche 962, Joest Audi R8, Champion Racing Audi R8 and the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.

Regardless of the cool and cloudy weather conditions, the competition was hot and heavy, and the Lowenbrau Porsche 962 won the event overall, with car owner Rodrigo Sales, Gunnar Jeannette and Derek and Justin Bell sharing the driving duties.

1995 24-hour race winner Marco Werner was on hand, driving a couple of cars in the event. It was the first time he had been back to the track since winning the race in the Kremer prototype back in 1995. Back in 1995, he expected to be merely a spectator, getting only 5 laps in the car before the race, as he was on hand to just help with the setup. However, with one driver unable to race at night due to poor eyesight and another getting sick, Marco ended up driving quite a bit that year, taking the car from mid-field to first and holding the lead for over 12 hours! As he told me about coming to the HSR Classic 24 at Daytona – “It’s nice to come back, for sure!”

Of course, one of the real nice things about this event, as compared to a professional IMSA race such as the Rolex 24, is the laid back, casual atmosphere at the track. The drivers were constantly getting together swapping old war stories and there was just a general feeling of a family reunion in the paddock area all week.

This event is certainly one that should be on your bucket list. You will get a chance to meet and talk to legendary drivers, see classic race cars up close and personal and get to see some really great race cars put through their paces on an historic racing circuit.

It’s an event we look forward to every year, and can’t wait until next year’s edition.

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