The Sixth Annual Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Sebring 12 Hour, Pistons and Props, hit the halfway mark early Saturday evening at Sebring International Raceway where four Run Groups of vintage and historic sports cars will keep the close competition going until just before 12 a.m. ET.
With all four Run Groups having completed their first two rounds just before 8 p.m., Sebring has delivered competitors its usual fair share of surprises – both good and bad – as Group leaders have emerged and more than one expected contender hit early trouble.
Group A has turned into a classic Corvette versus Porsche GT battle with the Red Dragon Racing 1963 No. 63 Corvette Stingray Coupe of Jason Sessions and Edward Sevadjian sweeping both opening rounds. The No. 63 Corvette team has built a comfortable lead of more than 90 seconds, but eight 911 and 914 Porsches, and the quick GMT Racing 1962 No. 1 Lotus 23B of Travis Engen, are all on the lead lap and no more than two minutes behind the leading Corvette.
The anticipated Chevron/Lola battle in Group B has emerged as expected with three-time and defending Classic Sebring winner Gray Gregory and his 1974 No. 26 Chevron B26 team locked in a tight one with the RM Motorsports 1978 No. 198 Lola T298 of Jim Farley and Craig Bennett.
Gregory and Ethan Shippert co-drove the No. 26 Chevron to victory in the first Group B round, but Farley and Bennett stepped up to take the round two win. The combined results have the Chevron up front over the Lola by just 13.557s at the halfway point with Randy Buck likely to drive the Chevron in the night session and Billy Johnson standing by to take the wheel of the Lola if needed.
A GT Modern (GTM) class clash has emerged in Run Group C between the Fall-Line Motorsports 2017 No. 16 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Thomas Herb and Ryan Dalziel and Thomas Gruber in his TAG 2016 No. 991 Porsche 991 GT3.
Gruber won the opening round in his Speed Syndicate-prepared Porsche, but Herb and Dalziel took the overall lead by a snug 9.850s with a victory in Group C round two.
Group D is an all-Porsche battle with a variety of 991 and 996 Cup cars and Caymans holding six of the top-seven spots. The leader by 40 seconds after sweeping both opening rounds is Brent Asplundh in his 2015 No. 85 Porsche 991 Cup prepared by Kelly-Moss Racing (KMR).
Asplundh’s nearest challenger is the 2015 No. 12 Autometrics Porsche 991 Cup of Price Ford and Cody Ellsworth that was the fastest car on the track in Group D round two.
Among the top contenders dropping from contention early Saturday were the Team Mean No. 94 Chevron B36, the No. 3 Matador Motorsports Corvette C7.R and the Olthoff Motorsports 1970 No. 10 Lola T70.
The Chevron, a former two-time HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour Run Group winner, failed to start Saturday morning and the team was forced to withdraw. The Corvette retired only minutes into the opening Group C round with a rare mechanical issue while the Lola had a terminal right front wheel hub failure after James Cullen and Dennis Olthoff combined to lead the majority of Group A Race 1.
Classic Sebring 12 Hour Rounds 3 for all four Groups fill out Saturday night’s schedule until just before 12 a.m. ET.
The schedule picks up again Sunday at 11 a.m. when the fourth and final segments for all Groups will be held in succession to bring the 2021 Classic Sebring 12 Hour at Sebring, Pistons and Props, presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network, to a conclusion.