Spring Fling launches HSR’s 2023 racing season with explosive energy

Photography by Colin Wood

The weather at Sebring this past weekend may have been warm, but the on-track action was where the real heat could be found.

Historic Sportscar Racing held the first event of its 2023 season, the HSR Spring Fling, at Sebring International Raceway this past weekend, March 23-26.

The competition kicked off Friday afternoon with the Sasco Sports International/American Challenge, which saw old-school American iron compete against some of the finest classic racing machines from Europe and around the world.

In the end, a 1961 Jaguar XKE piloted by Larry Ligas scored the overall win, with Fritz Seidel grabbing the second-place finish behind the wheel of a 1974 Porsche 911 IROC. A 1969 Porsche 911 RSR piloted by Josh Tuggle took third.

Following the action from the Sasco Sports International/American Challenge was the Stoner Car Care Global GT and Classic RS Cup Race, which saw more modern GT machines share the track with classic Porsche race cars.

Thomas Gruber drove a 2016 Porsche 991 GT3 to the Stoner Car Care Global GT win, followed by Bryan Collyer in a 2015 Dodge Challenger GT1 in second and Bill Fenech in a 2018 Porsche GT2 RS/CS in third.

In grabbing first place in the Classic RS Cup Race, Fritz Seidel secured a second Friday win from behind the wheel of a 1974 Porsche 911 IROC. Second and third place went to Josh Tuggle in a 1969 Porsche 911 RSR and George Balbach in a 1966 Porsche 911, respectively.

Saturday saw more qualifying as well as Sprint races, with Sunday headlined by the B.R.M Chronographs Endurance Challenge, a 60-minute race with a mandatory 5-minute pit stop.

The overall win went to Travis Engen, who piloted a 2005 Audi R8 LMP to yet another B.R.M Endurance victory. Co-drivers Francesco Melandri and Nigel Greensall won second overall with a 2017 Ligier JS/P3, with Thomas Gruber scoring another podium finish by coming in third overall in a 2016 Porsche 991 GT3.

Old-school race machines weren’t the only cars on track throughout the weekend, as HSR shared Sebring with the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, a sort-of step between club racing and the Carrera Cup North America, as well as with the USF Juniors, 2000 and Pro 2000, the stepping-stone series that lead up to Indy NXT and IndyCar.

The next event on the HSR calendar is the Mitty 2023 at Road Atlanta April 27-30, with NASCAR Stock Cars named the featured marque. Visit hsrrace.com for full details.

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