The eighth running of the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 12 Hour Sebring, Pistons and Props came to a conclusion on Sunday afternoon, December 3, at Sebring International Raceway after five full days of competition on the 3.74-mile road course and a fly-in of vintage aircraft.
The 12 Hours of Sebring tribute race on Saturday featured nine straight hours of competition with drivers in each of the four grids, A to D, taking to the track three times in a rotation of one-hour races. The final rounds were held in a similar rotation for three hours on Sunday afternoon with the quartet of Run Group winners crowned after a symbolic 12 hours of competition on the legendary Sebring airport circuit.
Group B shared the track with Group A, which was home to the only repeat HSR Classics winner in the race. Fast and familiar HSR competitor Toni Seiler came home in second place overall in the cumulative A&B results and scored his third Classic 12 win in the Waite-N-See Motorsports Lola T165.
Pierce Marshall and Eric Foss put in a competitive and controlled drive to their first overall HSR Classics victory in Group C in just their second race in the 2017 Matador Motorsports Cadillac Dallara DPi. Stuart Wiltshire in his Acura ARX-05 DPi ran them close throughout.
Another first-time winner was the unlikely entry of Patrick Womack, who co-drove his FedEx 2014 Toyota Camry to Group D victory with winning NASCAR star Joe Nemechek. Reminding fans and competitors alike of the successful Garage 56 NASCAR stock car effort at Le Mans in June, the NEMCO Motorsports team fitted the Camry with full headlights, taillights and brake lights and Womack and “Front Row Joe” went out and scored the first victory for a Stock Car in the nearly decade-long history of the HSR Classics endurance races.
Each overall Run Group winner was presented with a special-edition B.R.M. Chronographes watch commissioned specifically for the HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour. Other presentations included the traditional Best-Plane and Best-Car awards that were presented on Sunday just before this year’s line-up of amazing vintage and historic aircraft taxied back to Sebring International Raceway for departure after being on display for two days in the paddock. Attending pilots and their families select the best team or race car of the event while participating HSR competitors and officials vote for their favourite plane.
This year’s Best-Plane Award went to the debuting 1945 Grumman TMB-3R Avenger flown by Job Savage. The aviators in turn selected the unique Toj SC206 sports racer of Phil Daigrepont as this year’s Best-Car Award winner. Although Daigrepont, a former jockey from Louisiana, suffered four cracked ribs in a Saturday evening contact incident while racing the Toj, he still enthusiastically accepted the Best-Car Award on Sunday morning.
The Group B race was a family affair, with Kyle Collins scoring a convincing win in the same Chevron B21 his grandfather John Delane drove to a Classic 12 victory in 2020. The senior Delane happily stepped out of the Chevron in favour of his 24-year-old grandson but remained in the pits coaching his young protégé to victory. Collins, who crossed the finish line more than two minutes clear of his closest rival after leading all four races, was unexpectedly driving solo after his brother, the taller Tony Delane, was unable to fit comfortably in the Chevron’s cockpit.
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