Daytona Classic 24 – Europeans Top the Tables

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Dominating victories, the usual dose of late-race drama and a rare double winning duo were among the highlights of a competitive ninth running of the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Daytona 24 Hour race on 1-5 November at Daytona International Raceway.  After testing on Wednesday and a full schedule of HSR racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning, 2pm saw the start for the first of six grids and seven ‘Run Groups’ that would race in relay for the next 24 hours. 

George Vidovic ’00 Python SR MKII

This year’s big winners were Iconic Racing team drivers Gérard Lopez and former World Endurance Champion Marcel Fassler, who scored a double victory, taking overall honours in both Run Group A, for pre-’72 cars in their Lola T70 MKIII, and Group F, for current prototype and GT cars, in a 2019 Cadillac DPI-VR.

The famous 1950 Le Mans Cadillac “Monstre” was there, driven by Derek Drinkwater

Lopez and Fassler, making his HSR debut, led all four race segments in both Groups to give Lopez his first HSR Classic Daytona Group A triumph since 2017 after he suffered with mechanical issues in in 2019 and 2022.  Over from Switzerland, Tony Seiler was runner-up in the Group A cumulative results, driving a Lola T165, while Adrian Newey and Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley completed the podium in Newey’s GT40 ahead of Seiler’s compatriot, Alain Rüede, in a continuation Shelby Cobra.

There was also a European team on the top step of the Group B overall podium, with the fire-breathing De Tomaso Pantera of Ralf Kelleners and Detlef von Der Kieck, a spectator favourite, finishing ahead of local Floridian Todd Treffert’s Porsche RSR and Swiss driver, Alain Rüede’s Chevrolet Camaro. 

A real crowd pleaser, the fire-breathing De Tomaso Pantera of Ralf Kelleners and Detlef von Der Kieck won overall in Group B

More European entries topped the charts in Groups C (Late IMSA/GTP/WSC era: 1983-1993) and D (Early GrandAm/GT era 1994-2003).  On a shared grid, overall and Group C victory was taken by Lars Erik Nielsen from Denmark, driving a 926C Porsche, followed by Brits Mike and Andrew Jordan (Porsche 996 GT3 Cup), who topped the Group C results, and British compatriot, Simon Evans (Porsche 996 GT3RS). 

Co-driving with two-time IMSA Prototype Champion Eric Curran, HSR regular front runner, John Reisman swept the first three heats in Group E for modern prototypes in his Corvette Daytona Prototype only to retire halfway through the finale with gearbox failure, leaving Robby Foley and Vin Barletta (BMW Z4/GTD) to grab victory.

Group G is for HSR Cars that are ‘Deemed Not Eligible for Groups A thru F’ and is very competitive.   The family team of Louis-Phillipe and Olivier Montour from Canada set the pace throughout to seal victory in their GT Racing Volkswagen GTI/TCR. 

Read our full report in the December 2023 issue – available in hard copy and digital editions  

These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News.  Some have been abbreviated for this web site.  If you'd like to receive the full version, please visit our subscription page where you will find postal subscriptions available.  A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.