Former Winners and First-Time Classic 24 Leaders Alike Top the Time Sheets Halfway Through Eighth Running of HSR Classic 24 Hour Race
The Eighth Running of the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Daytona presented by IMSA hit the halfway mark early Sunday morning at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) where some first-time race leaders and former HSR Classic 24 race winners stepped up to take control of their respective Run Groups at mid-race.
Group B had the honor of kicking off the competition for the start of the HSR Classic 24 at 2 p.m. EDT on Saturday and a familiar team of "HSR Classics" dominators quickly stepped up to take the lead. The Phil Reilly and Co. 1974 No. 26 Chevron B26 of Gray Gregory, Ethan Shippert and Randy Buck won both Group B opening rounds and is halfway home to what would be the team's sixth HSR Classics victory. Gregory and his No. 26 teammates won the 2020 HSR Classic 24 in addition to four-straight HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour Group wins from 2017 to 2020.
Group A has seen perhaps the biggest surprise of the race so far with the debuting Jack Lewis Enterprises 1971/20 No. 29 Porsche 917/R Bailey recreation of Jack Lewis and Rob Parker building a one-lap lead on the field halfway through the race. Lewis looks for a second-straight HSR Classic Daytona victory after securing the Group B GT-class win last year in his Jack Lewis Enterprises 1974 No. 9 Porsche 911 RSR.
Another repeat Classic 24 win is in the making in Group C, but this one comes with a twist. If the duo of Malcolm Ross and Corey Fergus manages to pull off a repeat of last year's Group C triumph, the victory will happen at the wheel of a different ex-Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) Jaguar XJR-16 than the big cat they co-drove to the win in 2021. Last year's winning 1991 No. 3 Jaguar XJR-16 was sidelined after an issue in practice Friday and the team switched to their sister No. 2 Jaguar XJR-16. Ironically, the No. 2 was brought to this year's HSR Classic to serve as a parts car in support of the No. 3. The No. 2 now carries the team's title defense and several parts from its sidelined sister cat. After the first two of four Group C sessions, Ross and Fergus have opened up a comfortable lead on the competition.
Group D has produced so far the closest battle in the race and another first-time HSR Classic Daytona race leader at half distance. The Group D leader is the Iconic Racing 2003 No. 163 Saleen S7-R of Gérard Lopez and former Le Mans 24 Hour winner Éric Hélary. The Saleen duo has a seven-second lead over the 2006 No. 39 Riley XX Daytona Prototype of Todd Sloan while the third place 1993 Chevy Camaro R&S of Kenny Bupp and Jordan Bupp runs on the lead lap and only a minute and a half behind the leading Saleen.
The Hudson Historics 2014 No. 33 Corvette Daytona Prototype of John Reisman and Eric Curran has moved off to a comfortable lead in Group E. Reisman and Curran won both opening rounds.
Recently crowned IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar LMP2 Champion John Farano has continued his strong 2022 season with a race-leading performance in Group F at the halfway point. Farano won the opening Group F round in his 2018 No. 81 Oreca 07 4200 and held the lead after a runner-up showing in race two saw him cross the finish line just over five seconds behind the winning 2007 No. 18 Pescarolo 01 Judd of Juan Gonzalez and Butch Leitzinger.
The Group G leader at halfway is the 2006 No. 086 Porsche 997 Carrera C2 of Enrique Munizaga.
The HSR Classic Daytona 24 continues through morning hours and straight to 1 p.m. EST when the final checkered flag of the weekend will bring the twice-around-the-clock classic to a close.