Theres a new winter event at Daytona International Speedway and its a tribute to the famed Rolex 24hr race. Make sure to mark you calendars next year for the 6th Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 24hr at Daytona.
This is like a child’s manifestation of a GranTurismo race come to life. Here there are alternate timelines in history, different classes of vehicles racing wheel to wheel, and a culmination of short sprint races at different times of day. As much as this is an event for people to stretch the legs of their collectable items on track, it’s also just as much a gift to everyone who enjoys these classic machines.
There’s just something special about going to an event at Daytona International Speedway. Even if you’re not a NASCAR fan, there’s the obvious element of history when you enter the grounds. Then once the feeling of history fades you’re left with the noise. Infield racing within the high banks makes sound resonate from the exhaust to your ear drums in a way that’s unique to this location. The sound doesn’t dissipate over stretches of land, it bounces off the track and comes back at you from all around you.
Best of all, you can camp right in the middle of it and build a campfire in the grass to keep you warm all night as the cars fly by the outside of your tent through the next morning. This is truly a unique place to watch and listen to these vehicles at full chat.
The HSR Classic 24 has a unique format. There are 6 different groups of racing filled with a mix of prototype and GT cars fielded on track from individual eras. The individual groups go out for 45 minutes on track then take a 6 hour break between sessions while the other groups run. They complete this rotation for 4 hours to create 24 hours of seemingly non stop action on track for a whole day. This also gives a chance to see each car on track at different times of day.
These groups are impeccably diverse. The first group to go on track pitted a 2007 Peugeot 908 against two 2005 Audi R8 LMPs while dodging traffic on track in the form of a 2015 Nissan GTR GT3, 2014 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, and a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette C6R.
Before the race kicked off these vehicles lined up on track and the field was open for a grid walk. The pit lane felt like a walk down a museum row about to come to life. And come to life they did.
With the near constant turnover of classes there was a constant number of delightful moments on track throughout the day and night. You might catch a glimpse of a Daytona Prototype racing against at 962, a Mercedes 300SL being overtaken by a Shelby Daytona, or a BMW CSL comparing wing and fender flare sizes to a Porsche 935.
Every where you turn, there’s something special driving by, either on track or hustling to get in and out of the garages. There’s a magic to standing feet away from these vehicles as they pass by you in a conga line.
It’s a different world to watch these historic vehicles on track and come up close and personal to them in the garages.
It’s amazing to walk the garage to see the differences and similarities between decades of racing. Here in the garages you can see the real character of these machines preserved through the ages. Each slot of the garage feels like an individual time machine into a different era of racing. All the vehicles come with their individual quirks that need to be managed for the full night and day of racing. Some even needed bodywork repairs from incidents on track.
Heading out into the night cars gain light pods and re attack Daytona under wildly different conditions.
The next morning brings a different scene of attrition, heroic drives for class positions, and an alternate reality where a Peugeot rolls into the winner circle rather than Audi. Champagne is spilled and confetti falls 6 separate times as each group rounds out their 4 series of on track sessions.
The HSR Classic races are gaining popularity around the US with its mix of vintage machines, unique race format, and positive access to a world of history. My recommendation is to pack up your camping gear and head South for this new winter classic.