The entry list for the third running of the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 24 Hour at Daytona presented by IMSA, November 8 - 12, was officially announced today by HSR officials and features nearly 150 race cars and a current tally of more than 250 drivers from around the world. In total, drivers and teams from 18 different countries, including an impressive list of past and current champion drivers, sports car racing legends and other motorsports notables, are heading to the "World Center of Racing" next month to participate in the HSR Classic 24 Hour at Daytona presented by IMSA.
The equally impressive race cars in which these drivers will compete in the HSR Classic 24 Hour at Daytona represents a six-decade timespan, stretching back to the iconic prototypes and GT cars of the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s and up to the more modern racing machines of this century that have been retired from competition.
The HSR Classic 24 Hour at Daytona debuted in 2014 as a tribute race to the internationally famous Rolex 24 At Daytona, which has been run on the 3.56-mile road course at the "World Center of Racing" for more than half-a-century. The immediate success of the inaugural event called for a second running in 2015 and, after a year off, the anticipation is even stronger for next month's third running of the race.
"We are once again honored by the fantastic participation the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona presented by IMSA has received from competitors from around the world," said HSR President David Hinton. "The quality of the historic race cars and the incredible lineup of legendary stars and historic sports car racing drivers that are ready to once again take on the challenge of the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona is amazing. We look forward to joining IMSA and Daytona International Speedway in welcoming back these talented men and women who will compete in the Classic 24 Hour, and of course the dedicated race fans, who will join us at the World Center of Racing next month."
The list of current and legendary drivers and motorsports notables confirmed for the Classic 24 includes Adrian Newey, Ray Evernham, Patrick Long, Andy Wallace, Joao Barbosa, Butch Leitzinger, Lyn St. James, Eric Curran, Jules Gounon, Jim Pace, Terry Borcheller, Bill Warner, Aaron Scott, Dieter Quester, Kees Nierop, Bruno Junqueira, Eric Van de Poele, Didier Theys, Gunnar Jeannette, John Fergus, Carlos de Quesada and many more.
The Classic 24 features six period-correct run groups rotating through a full 24 hours of racing on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course. The run groups, which include various classes of similar-era race cars, each take to the track four times throughout the 24 hours. The competitors in each group covering the most total distance in the shortest amount of time in their group's four sessions will be crowned Classic 24 at Daytona champions.
Group A - 1960 - 1972: The oldest and perhaps most memory-stirring division, Group A features such legendary race cars as the Lola T70, McLaren M1B and both Chevron B8 and B16 models. Production-based GT machines are also a competitive part of the mix with several 1960s-era Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs, including a Shelby GT350, set to battle with a strong field of early Porsche 911s. Former Group Winner Marc Devis will be looking for another Classic 24 Hour crown this year at the wheel of an ex-John Surtees 1967 Lola T70 Mk3B Lightweight Spyder (pictured), prepared by Olthoff Racing. "Winning the Classic 24 Hour is nice because it is so iconic, and because it is about winning the combination of several individual races," Devis said. "It really is a team win!"
Group B - 1973 - 1982: Evoking the same emotion and memories of Group A with a little more turbocharged power and wide-body aerodynamics, Group B has attracted several Porsche 935s and one 934, a pair of BMW CSLs, a BMW M1 "Pro Car" and several Porsche 911 RSR and ST models. A Camaro and Corvette L88 will represent the big-bore Detroit ranks while Group B is also home to several ultra-quick and classic Chevron B36 and Lola T492 open-cockpit sports prototype race cars. An entry once again sure to be a fan favorite is the returning Esprit Calgary 1974 Greenwood Corvette (pictured) that will be driven by endurance-racing standout Jules Gounon, who started from the overall Classic 24 Hour pole in the Corvette in the 2015 race. "Last time we won in GT but we finished second overall in our Group," said Eric Roturier, who is co-owner of Esprit Calgary with Patrick Caldentey. "We need to achieve the goal this year of first overall. Just finishing the Classic 24 Hour race is a great feeling of achievement, but a win brings big pride and recognition from other competitors, owners, technicians and fans."
Group C - 1980 - 1990: The prime of the GTP and Group C era is at the heart of this division, which is the featured Run Group of the 2017 Classic 24 Hour. A strong lineup of four Porsche 962s will be joined by two Jaguar XJR-5s, a Jaguar XJR-7 and a Porsche Fabcar Camel Lights machine. Competitive production-based race cars are also in Group C, including several Porsche 964s, a Camaro and a Lotus X180R. A highlight entry in the group is the Executone March 83G that will be co-driven by Greg Thornton and top motorsports designer and engineer Adrian Newey. The March was one of Newey's earliest projects before reaching super stardom as a designer in the high-tech world of Formula 1. He has since added driving to his impressive resume, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007. "My passion was always the design of the cars, right from when I was a kid building Tamiya 1:12 scale models and then cannibalizing them and making my own ideas," Newey said. "When I was about 14, I managed to persuade my dad to take me karting. I did a bit of karting, nothing very serious, as it was the engineering of the car, fiddling and tinkering with it and trying to make it go quicker, that was probably the interest for me more then than the driving."
Group D - 1994 - 2002: Historic but familiar, the highlight machines in Group D include a Ferrari 333 SP, Chrysler Dallara LMP900, a Riley & Scott Mk III, a pair of Lola B2Ks and several Riley and Doran Daytona Prototypes. The group is also home to both a Saleen S7R GT1 and a Saleen Mustang, which will take on several Porsche GT3/GT2 race cars, a Ferrari 360 Challenge car and even an Oldsmobile Aurora. A group highlight will be the endurance racing return of the Doran JE4 (pictured) of Forest Barber and Terry Borcheller, who joined Christian Fittipaldi and Andy Pilgrim in winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the same Daytona Prototype in 2004. Doran Racing fielded that winning entry and will again at the Classic 24 Hour. "It really does seem like it was only yesterday, but it has been 13 years, which is hard to believe," Barber said. "It's very exciting to be back, Terry and I have kept in close touch, and we both look back at our years together in this car as really great memories. I have owned this car since day one, it lives up at the Doran Racing shop, and I couldn't bear to part with it."
Group E - 2003 - 2015: This group lets ALMS and Le Mans prototypes not eligible to race at Daytona in their prime a chance to take to the 3.56-mile high-banked road course. Two Audi R8s, a Pescarolo Judd LMP, Courage Oreca LC70E and a Lola B07/18 LMP1 are expected to be the pacesetters. Group E also includes several later-generation Daytona Prototypes, Oreca FLM09 Prototype Challenge (PC) cars and a competitive lineup of GT machines, such as a Viper GT3-R, Corvette C7R, Aston Martin Vantage, Lotus Exige, several Ferraris and a typically strong turnout of Porsches. One Porsche, a Cayman GT4, will be co-driven by legendary NASCAR Crew Chief and Team Owner Ray Evernham. Another spotlight entry capable of contending for the overall Group E win is the recently announced 2000 Doran/Lista Racing Dallara Judd LMP that will be shared by original co-drivers Fredy Lienhard and Didier Theys. "To look at these cars from the day, they are quite good looking and come from sort of a free-form, open-competition era," said Doran Racing team owner Kevin Doran. "The cars were all different, this one was fun to race, we ran them for two years, and they were just really good cars for us. We took the Daytona 24 Hour win and several more victories."
Group F - HSR Cars: This group produced some of the closest and most competitive racing in each of the first two Classic 24 at Daytona races. Home to HSR classes, some not represented in the other five other groups, Group F also lets competitors with race cars that were never eligible to compete at Daytona a chance to build a little history of their own on the legendary track in the Classic 24. Offering a mix of machinery from six different decades, this group includes many of the same competitors and race cars that compete in HSR's showcase Classic RS Cup and Global GT series.