The Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 12 Hour at Sebring officially began yesterday Sebring International Raceway where the first running of the event shared Thursday's schedule with some season-ending HSR series races that produced four different winners and 2016's first two champions.
In addition the debut edition of the HSR Classic 12 Hour at Sebring, Pistons and Props, presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network and Classic Motorsports, this weekend's event also closes the curtain on HSR's season-long 2016 WeatherTech Sprint and B.R.M. Chronographes Enduro series.
The HSR Global GT Championship and HSR RS Cup series also wrapped their inaugural season-championships ton Thursday with Jonathon Ziegelman winning the GT crown and Mike Banz clinching the RS Cup title.
Ziegelman finished second in his KMW Motorsports 2008 No. 911 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup to race winner Juan Lopez-Santini but that was enough to clinch the title in HSR Global GT, a first-year series for recently retired GT race cars. Among Ziegelman's Global GT championship awards is a test next year on the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium in a race-prepared Porsche GT3 Cup car or Cayman. The "Race to Spa" champion award includes use of the race car, hotel lodging for two and expert driver coaching, all provided by HSR.
Santini, the 2015 HSR Driver of the Year, won his first Global GT race in his 2008 No. 810 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup prepared by the 901 Shop. Mac McGehee finished third in his Autometrics 2010 No. 097 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in his first Global GT race start.
The RS Cup is a showcase of 1970's era RS, RSR and IROC 911-based race cars, and THursday’s season-ending race lived up to the legendary Porsche lineage. Brady Refenning earned his first RS Cup win in his 901 Shop 1974 No. 28 Porsche 911 IROC but Banz sealed the series championship with a third-place finish in his Heritage Motorsports 1974 No. 13 Porsche 911 RSR.
Banz battled for the RS Cup crown all year with Todd Treffert, racing clean and close while developing a fast friendship off the track. Treffert, driving his Speedconcepts 1974 No. 141 Porsche 911 IROC, edged Banz for second-place in today's race but ultimately settled for RS Cup championship runner-up honors after a great season of his own.
The RS Cup victory lane wasn't the only podium appearance for Banz and Treffert on Thursday. The final Bob Woodman Tires International/American Challenge race of the year saw a full field of 32 race cars battle for eight laps as the sun was setting on Sebring.
Racing his 1970 No. 23 Ford Mustang Boss 302 from Cobra Automotive, Curt Vogt scored the overall and American-class victory for the second-straight race after also winning the Bob Woodman Tires Challenge three weeks ago at the Daytona Historics.
Treffert and Banz emerged as Vogt's strongest challengers, however, with Treffert taking the International-class win and second-place overall. Banz finished second in the International division and completed the overall Bob Woodman podium in third.
Rolex 24 At Daytona and Trans Am race winner Shane Lewis was fourth overall and third in the International class in the Bob Woodman race, guest-driving the Predator Performance 1973 No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR of Bill Keith.
Vogt shared the American division podium with Grahame Bryant who raced to second in class and sixth overall from the back of the field in his 1967 No. 29 Camaro Z/28. Third place in the Bob Woodman American class was earned by Adam Lindemann in his 1966 No. 704 Shelby GT350 prepared by Cobra Automotive.
Today’s schedule at the Classic 12 Hour begins with a pair of season-ending B.R.M. Chronographes Enduros starting at 8 a.m. for the Vintage and GT Classic divisions. The Historic, Prototype and GT Modern Enduro starts at 9:05 a.m. with the first round of HSR WeatherTech Sprints filling out the rest of the morning.
The Classic 12 Hour officially begins Friday at 1 p.m. with each of the six Run Groups closing out the day's schedule with back-to-back races all afternoon.