First-time and repeat winners crowned in HSR Classic Sebring

First-time and repeat winners crowned in HSR Classic Sebring

Vintage Motorsport / Historic

First-time and repeat winners crowned in HSR Classic Sebring

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The Fifth Annual Historic Sportscar Racing Classic Sebring 12 Hour presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network came to a safe and successful conclusion Sunday at Sebring International Raceway where a pair of competitors scored repeat Run Group wins and two more raced to their first HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour victories on the legendary airport road course.

Competitors in the HSR Classic event were divided into four period-correct Run Groups with each taking to the 3.74-mile Sebring circuit four different times for 42-minute race segments spread over two days. Each overall Run Group winner was presented with a special-edition B.R.M. Chronographes watch commissioned specifically for the event.

Group A honors went to HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour debutant John Delane in the GMT Racing 1972 No. 81 Chevron B21. After finishing second in Saturday afternoon’s opening segment, Delane swept the final three Group A rounds to earn his first major historic endurance racing victory.

An American who is a multiple champion in FIA Masters Historic Formula 1 competition in Europe, Delane has only recently started historic sports car endurance racing in the U.S. Prior to his breakout solo drive to victory this weekend, Delane has previously competed three times in the HSR Classic Daytona 24 Hour race.

While Delane won in a Chevron in his Sebring debut, the winning Run Group B trio of Gray Gregory, Randy Buck and Ethan Shippert co-drove a Chevron to a third-consecutive HSR Classic Sebring victory.

The “threepeat” came after a dominating performance by the Phil Reilly and Co. 1974 No. 26 Chevron B26 drivers and team that began with car-owner Gregory winning Group B Round 1 by more than a minute Saturday afternoon. Buck and Shippert, respectively, swept the next two segments while Gregory and Shippert co-drove to a competitive but cautious second-place finish in Sunday’s fourth and final round to secure the victory.

The third-straight Sebring win is also the fourth overall HSR Classics victory for the No. 26 Chevron B26 team in recent years. Gregory and Shippert co-drove to the Group B win last month at Daytona.

Run Group C was home to another repeat winner, with David Porter scoring his second-straight HSR Classic Sebring win in his GMT Racing 2007 No. 7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP despite some tough competition.

Porter scored the victory in Group C’s opening segment by more than a minute but then trailed the quick Olthoff Racing 2007 No. 25 Oreca FLM09, co-driven by Larry Huang and Peter Dannan, to the line in Rounds 2 and 3.

Leaving nothing to chance, Porter promptly went out and won the fourth and final Group C segment to wrap up the overall victory. The Porter and Peugeot pairing is now a perfect four-for-four in HSR Classics competition, including the Classic Sebring wins and triumphs at the HSR Classic Daytona last month and in the Peugeot’s HSR debut at Daytona in 2019.

The Run Group D victory went to first-time Classic Sebring winners Chris Ruppel and Eric Zitza who avenged a narrow loss in the division last year in the 2010 No. 119 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup from Zotz Racing.

Ruppel and Zitza co-drove to their only segment win in Saturday’s opening race but coupled a calculated drive with some key pit-side strategy from the Zotz crew to build an untouchable lead over the course of the remaining three segments.

Next up for HSR is a return to Sebring International Raceway for 2021’s season-opening HSR Spring Fling at Sebring, March 31–April 2. Next year’s Spring Fling dates have been slightly adjusted with a Wednesday through Friday format allowing competitors to be home for the Easter holiday weekend.

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