The Fifth Annual Historic Sportscar Racing Classic Sebring 12 Hour presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network hit the halfway mark Saturday evening at Sebring International Raceway. Four Run Groups of historic and vintage sports cars will continue the competition on the legendary 3.74-mile road course through to the midnight hour.
All four Run Groups have completed their first two of four rounds in the 12 Hours of Sebring tribute race, with the Round 3 nighttime session currently underway.
Saturday’s schedule in total includes the first three 42-minute segments for each Run Group – fittingly within the span of a 12-hour period – while the fourth and final rounds, which begin Sunday at 10 a.m. EST, will bring the 2020 HSR Classic Sebring event to a close.
With half of this year’s race in the books, potential first-time victors have emerged in two Run Groups while a pair of reigning Classic Sebring winners have stepped up to defend their titles.
A win in Group A would be a first for John Delane in the GMT Racing 1972 No. 81 Chevron B21 in the Classic 12 Hour, and he is halfway to that goal. Delane finished second in Saturday afternoon’s opening segment and pounced when Round 1 winner Kyle Tilley encountered gearbox issues with his Era Motorsport 1970 No. 18 Lola T-210 early in the Group A’s second race.
Gray Gregory and Randy Buck co-drove the Phil Reilly and Co. 1974 No. 29 Chevron B26 to the Group B victory in each of the last two runnings of the HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour, and is in fast pursuit of the “threepeat” this year.
A third-straight Sebring win would also be the fourth-consecutive HSR Classics victory for the No. 29 team and Gregory, who was joined by Ethan Shippert for the Group B win at last month’s HSR Classic Daytona 24 Hour race. Shippert has been added to the No. 29 team’s driver lineup this weekend and is slated to drive in tonight’s third segment after Gregory took the Group B lead in Round 1 and Buck held it through the day’s second race.
Group C, which is a high-speed showcase modern prototypes and GT machines that are the fastest cars in the race, is once again producing the closest competition of this year’s Classic 12 Hour.
Defending Sebring Group C winner David Porter and his spectacular GMT Racing 2007 No. 7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP leads by 90 seconds after the opening two rounds but can’t quite shake a fast field of Daytona Prototypes – the GMT Racing 2005 No. 2 Audi R8 LMP of Travis Engen and even some sneaky-fast Oreca FLM09 Prototype Challenge cars.
Porter took the victory in Group C’s opening segment by more than a minute only to finish second in Round 2 to the Olthoff Racing 2007 No. 25 Oreca FLM09 wheeled by veteran professional driver Peter Dannan. Car owner and driver Larry Huang shares the No. 25 PC with Dannan in the Classic 12 Hour.
After a narrow loss and second-place Group D finish in the 2019 Classic 12 Hour, Zotz Racing co-drivers Chris Ruppel and Eric Zitza were quick to show Saturday nothing short of the victory will do this year.
Already a winner this week at Sebring in Thursday’s Stoner Car Care HSR Global GT race, Ruppel put the 2010 No. 119 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in the lead early in the first Group D race. Zitza then took over to take the opening race victory and, following Round 2, the duo has built a one-minute lead on the field.
Following tonight’s Round 3 races that run until just before midnight EST, the Classic 12 Hour schedule picks up again Sunday at 10 a.m. EST when the fourth and final segments for all Groups will be held in succession to bring the 2020 HSR Classic Sebring 12 to a conclusion.
Classic 12 Hour tickets can be purchased on-site only at the Sebring International Raceway HSR registration window with Sunday admission just $25.