as the Classic 12 Hour Hits Full Swing
- Three of Four Segments in the Books as the Classic 12 Hour at Sebring Races into the Night Saturday at Sebring International Raceway - Close Group A Battle Between Two Lola T70s and a Chevron B16 - Pescarolo LMP and Chevron B23/36 Teams Take Commanding Group Leads- Arriving Vintage Plane Parade and Pre-Race Ceremonies Build Classic 12 Hour Buzz
Night racing and a parade of vintage airplanes came to the inaugural Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 12 Hour at Sebring on Saturday where a full schedule of day and nighttime racing segments were watched by one of the biggest crowds to ever attend an HSR race at Sebring International Raceway.
Officially titled the Classic 12 Hour at Sebring, Pistons and Props, presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network and Classic Motorsports, this weekend's inaugural event is an on-track and on-the-runways celebration of the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring auto race and historic Hendricks Field, the iconic military and civil aviation facility on which the race is run every year.
Kicking off today's Classic 12 Hour schedule was Group A for 1960's era sports cars. The field fired up its engines at the command of John Hendricks, grandson of Hendricks Field namesake Lieutenant Laird W. Hendricks, Jr. This year marks both the 75th Anniversary of the opening of the airfield and what would have been Lieutenant Laird's 100th birthday.
Group A has developed into a dogfight that would make any flying ace proud. The 1969 Lola T70s of Gerard Lopez and co-driver Franz Wallenborn and the similar No. 77 machine of Toni Seiler are just one lap ahead of the 1969 No. 186 Chevron B16 of Martin Lauber and Malte Muller-Wrede.
The No. 10 Lopez/Wallenborn Lola won both the day and nighttime segments on Saturday and, like Seiler's T70, has completed 51 laps. The No. 186 Chevron has completed 50 laps, and all three entries have a chance to take the overall Group A win in Sunday morning's fourth and final 42-minute segment.
Things aren't as close in Group B where John Harrold enlisted winning professional driver Randy Pobst to co-drive his Team Mean 1979 No. 94 Chevron B in the Classic 12 Hour. Pobst drove both Saturday segments and he and Harrold head into tomorrow's Group B finale with a healthy four-lap lead on the field in the KMW Motorsports prepared Chevron.
The Group D leader is the 1996 No. 4 Riley & Scott MkIII of Rick Carlino and Derek Jones that has completed 52 laps and swept all three segments despite a steady challenge from brothers Hunter Harris and Hamilton Harris. The Harris twins co-drive a 2000 Lola B2K/40S, have stayed on the same lap as the Riley & Scott and will no doubt take the Group D battle down to the wire in Sunday's final segment.
Group D is sharing the track with Group C, which has developed into an all-Porsche 964 Cup car battle. With 47 laps completed, Alan Benjamin and co-driver Robert Ames lead Group D in their 1990 No. 17 964, just ahead of the similar No. 931 1993 model of Alex Welch and Alexandra Sabados, which is on the same lap.
With 2015 Le Mans 24 Hour LMP2 winning co-driver Richard Bradley in his camp, the GMT Racing 2007 No. 18 Pescarolo Judd LMP of David Porter has opened up a decent lead in Group E. The No. 18 is two laps ahead of nearest challengers Butch Leitzinger and Juan Gonzalez, who co-drive the 2010 No. 52 Oreca FLM09, and the similar No. 11 "PC" car of Keith Frieser.
Before Classic 12 Hour competition began on Saturday, an impressive parade of Vintage Airplanes taxied along the Sebring race course to a full-display area in the infield. The collection includes World War II era aircraft such as a BT-9, P40 Warhawk, two Stearman PT-17s, a Vultee BT-15 Valiant and a Beech C-45 named "Beech Baby."
Sunday's last day of Classic 12 Hour competition begins at 8 a.m. with three-straight 42-minute final segments for Groups A, B and C/D, respectively.
After a break at 11 a.m. to sendoff the Vintage Airplanes, competition resumes at 1 p.m. for back-to-back races for Group E and Group F. The Classic 12 Hour at Sebring Awards Celebration immediately follows at 3:30 p.m.
- In addition to sponsoring the JSI Logistics Drivers Lounge, JSI Logistics has made its expedited parts delivery service available 24/7 to Classic 12 Hour competitors at Sebring. JSI applies its "Next Flight Out" process and Control Tower monitoring technology to make sure urgent replacement part shipments are picked up and moved to Sebring as fast as commercially possible, frequently in hours, not days. The Classic 12 Hour at Sebring Critical Shipment JSI Hotline is 1-508-728-4565.
About HSR: Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) was formed in the mid-1970s with an event at Road Atlanta. There was one goal then and it remains true today: to celebrate the race cars from the past. As a "time machine" of sights and sounds, HSR provides a venue for competitors and spectators alike to share in the wonderful history and excitement created by the cars that competed at race tracks around the world. HSR currently sanctions eight vintage and historic racing events at some of the world's most renowned race tracks, including Road Atlanta, Sebring International Raceway, Daytona International Speedway and more. The complete schedule and full event information can be found on HSR's website at www.HSRRace.com. Look for the HSR Channel on YouTube and you can also follow HSR on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HSRrace/ and on Twitter at @HSR_race.