The Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Savannah Speed Classic presented by Mingledorff's moved off to a picture-perfect start Friday (October 28th) on the Grand Prize Circuit on Hutchinson Island where the weekend's first four race winners were crowned in the Bob Woodman Tire International/American Challenge and the B.R.M Historic/Prototype one-hour enduro. Friday's full-day of practice, qualifying and racing for all HSR Run Groups took place under clear, blue skies with temperatures in the low 80s. While evidence of Hurricane Matthew's trip through Savannah just a few weeks ago could be seen with downed trees in spots around the well-prepared circuit, the only powerful force in action Friday on the Hutchinson Island road course was the field of nearly 140-HSR race cars.
The Bob Woodman Tires sprint was the first of Friday's two races, and Catesby Jones took overall and International-class honours in his 1974 No. 19 Porsche 911 IROC. Don Soenen won the American class in his 1994 No. 147 Ford Mustang Cobra R while finishing fifth overall.
The B.R.M. Enduro was won overall, and in the Prototype class, by Motorsports Hall of Fame of America member Elliott Forbes-Robinson and co-driver Ted Wenz in the 2009 No. 25 Oreca FLM09 owned by Larry Huang. The Oreca is prepared locally by Savannah Race Engineering.
The B.R.M. Enduro Historic class winner was John Harrold in his Team Mean 1979 No. 94 Chevron B23/36. Although 30 years older than the race car EFR and Wenz drove to victory, Harrold still wheeled the quick Chevron to a second-place overall finish, just one lap behind the Oreca.
Jones shared the Bob Woodman Tire International-class podium with Stuart Milne, who finished second in the 901 Shop 1973 No. 11 Porsche 911 RSR. Mike Banz was third in his No. 13 1974 Porsche 911 RSR prepared by Heritage Motorsports. Soenen was joined in the Bob Woodman Tire American class top three by runner-up Chris Beighton in the 1966 No. 45 Ford Mustang 2+2 and third-place finisher Jeff McKain, who drove a similar 1966 Ford Mustang GT.
Jose Cortes finished second in B.R.M. Enduro Prototype to EFR and Wenz in the 2012 No. 22 Caterham SP300R while Harrold was joined on the B.R.M. Historic Enduro podium by second-place finisher Jeff Borghesi and third-place Will Woerheide. Borghesi raced the 2000 No. 7 Lola B2K/40 to the runner-up showing while Woerheide - who is just 15-years-old - took the final podium spot in the 1985 No. 5 Swift DB2, a race car that is just over twice his age. Woerheide didn't even think of taking a sip of the customary victory lane bubbly, but his more-than-of-age competitors welcomed him to the podium with an equally traditional champagne shower.
This weekend's Savannah Speed Classic marks the third round of 2016 competition for both the HSR Global GT series and the HSR Classic RS Cup, two new series that debuted just this past Memorial Day Weekend in the WISKO Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway. Global GT has attracted its largest entry to date with a 21-car field comprised of various models of sports cars from seven different manufacturers, including Chevrolet, Ford, Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus, BMW and Panoz.
Leading the way is Global GT points leader Jonathon Ziegelman in his black-and-white zebra-striped 2008 No. 911 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup prepared by KMW Motorsports. Ziegelman will be looking to defend his championship lead against a field that includes five more 911/GT3 Cup Porsches and a Cayman, several Corvettes and Mustangs, a pair of Lotus Exige-S models and many more.
Banz is leading the RS Cup championship standings but Jones and Milne edged him to the line today in the Bob Woodman Tire race and should mount similarly strong challenges all weekend. Milne co-drives his Porsche with Pablo Peon. A good showing this weekend by Kathy Blaha, who is third in the RS Cup standings in her No. 114 Porsche 911 RSR, could also keep her title hopes alive with just two races remaining this season after the Savannah weekend.
Saturday's schedule at the Savannah Speed Classic presented by Mingledorff's includes final qualifying in the morning and the first WeatherTech Sprint races of the weekend for all Run Groups in the afternoon. Qualifying and the WeatherTech sprints will be split by the featured B.R.M. Vintage Enduro at 1:30 p.m., a race that is expected to have the largest field of the weekend.