Racing history is kept alive by the Historic Sportscar Racing series (HSR), which runs classic racing events on two of the most legendary circuits in the U.S., Daytona and Sebring. The Classic Daytona 24 Hour was held on November 1st-5th and included many BMWs on the entry list.
The HSR Classic Daytona 24 Hour is not a 24-hour race per se, but has 24 hours of racing with six different run groups each running four one-hour races. The results from those four races are then cumulated together for the final results. There are no balance of performance (BoP) limitations on the cars and no tire requirements, so many of the cars running in this event are faster than they were when they were running in IMSA or other race series that have those limitations.
There were several BMWs among the different race groups, from early ‘70’s era CSLs to E36, E46 and E90 M3s as well as the more recent M6 and Z4 GT3 models. They were successful as well. Turner Motorsport drivers Vin Barletta and Robby Foley raced a Z4 GT3 in the Group E class and finished first overall, with Barletta doing all the driving in the car. They also finished first in the F-3 class and eighth overall in the Group F class with an M6 GT3. Both of these are ex-Turner Motorsport cars that raced in IMSA and SRO, and that Barletta now owns.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Z4 and M6 were competing in the SRO and IMSA series and winning races, but they are quite different from the current M4 GT3. “The cars all have their own character,” said Robby Foley. “The Z4 GT3 is still a blast to drive, and it handles really well. It’s very different from the M6 and M4, with a shorter wheelbase and it’s much smaller. It’s very nimble and can be a little twitchy sometimes, but it has good aero and great traction. It’s still competitive with the newer cars through the slower corners and it sounds great.”
The oldest BMWs in the event were the CSLs, which ran in Group B. Automatic Racing Team Principal David Russell has done this race nine or ten times now in the #42 car owned by Dick York, which reportedly started life as Dieter Questers street car. It was built into a race car around ten years ago, and Russell and co-driver Barry Waddell finished second in the B-4 class and sixth overall. “The CSL is one of the most rewarding cars I’ve ever driven,” said Russell. “It’s super physical to drive, with no power steering and no power brakes, and it has big tires on it. It has a really good feel to it, and you can get up on it and drive it pretty hard. It’s rewarding to drive but it takes it out of you. Overall, it’s a fun event and is very well run.”
Other notable results were put in by Dean DeSantis and Josh Tuggle, who finished third in the B-4 class and seventh overall in a 1972 CSL, and Zack Barfield, who finished third in the G-1 class and overall in a 2009 M3. Also in Group G, Ernie Wilding and Eb Vazquez finished first in the G-2 class and fifth overall in a 1995 M3.
HSR also runs a Classic 12 Hour at Sebring, which takes place on the weekend of November 29th-December 3rd. The next Classic 24 Hour at Daytona typically takes place in early November. You can find out more information at hsrrace.com. —David Haueter
[Photos courtesy HSR]