We're thrilled that so many of you have expressed an interest in joining us in the States at the end of the year. Understandably you need more details, particularly around the costs involved, you've raised some valid questions too.
In November 2022, (I), CSCC Director David Smitheram, attended the HSR Daytona Classic 24 Hour event, together with a non-competitive event at Sebring on the same weekend. I packed a number of meetings into a busy few days, to find answers to your questions. CSCC President, Mike Jordan was competing here, as was CSCC member Neil Merry, whilst members Danny Cassar, Garry Barlow and family where here to spectate and reconnoitre. They have kindly shared their thoughts later in this article.
If, after reading this article and noting the cost estimates you are still strongly interested, please can you send us a very brief email, listing which event(s) you are planning to enter, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firstly, some questions and answers:
Q. Can I choose to do either Daytona or Sebring? A. Our main focus will be on the Daytona event, with an option to do Sebring as well. We won't be offering Sebring by itself. It was originally scheduled to run 3 weeks after Daytona, this then changed to 4 weeks. The longer gap does present additional logistic and storage costs, but for those with the means to do both events, Sebring looks superb.
Q. What races can I enter, how much track time will I get? What days do I need to be there? A. How much time do you want?! At both events there is ample opportunity to enter multiple races with us, including the headline endurance events, if desired. Last year's timetables may best explain how the event is run on each day, with signing on and scrutineering on the Tuesday, testing Wednesday, qualifying Thursday, then racing from Friday to Sunday. We understand this will be a similar format in 2023. Daytona 2022 timetable. Sebring 2022 timetable.
We believe that most of you will enter the sprint races, this gives you 20 minutes qualifying and 3 x 20 minute, non pit-stop races, all with rolling starts. Your car is likely to be eligible for more than one sprint race category, if you still want more track time, but don't want to do the endurance races.
You can also choose to enter the endurance races through us, instead of, or as well as, the sprint races.
The Daytona Classic 24/Sebring Classic 12 Hour is split into sections, like the Le Mans Classic and our own Anglesey 24 Hour event this year. The Daytona Classic 24 Hour entries will receive 20 minutes of day qualifying, 20 minutes night practice, 20 minutes qualifying sprint race, then the main event of 4 x 45 minute, cumulative races.
Q. Is testing available? A. Yes, in fact it is strongly recommended/mandatory, taking place on the Wednesday of each event and will therefore be included in the CSCC package prices.
Q. What race licence will I need?
A. Any MSUK race licence is acceptable, yes, that includes a 'Club' (formerly National B). Strictly no novices, sorry, these are high speed circuits, it's important for everyone's enjoyment and safety that drivers have at least six races under their belt.
Q. Are garages available?
A. Both circuits have ample paddock parking, at Daytona we will have some, limited 'yellow' garaging available at extra cost. All entries will enjoy plenty of paddock parking in a CSCC area, more on this at a later date. At Sebring it will be open air paddock space for all.
Q. Is my car eligible? What will my car race against? A. I spent time talking to HSR President, David Hinton, about the typical types of car we have racing within our 12 different race series. All of our cars are eligible, provided a few small changes are made (listed in the next question). Our cars will slot into suitable, existing grids, based on a mixture of likely pace, type of car and age. For example, Mintex Classic K and Adams & Page Swinging 60s will likely fit in groups 2 and 3, JMC Racing Special Saloons & Modsports in groups 5 and 9, Liqui Moly Slicks in groups 9 and 10 and so on.
We will issue you with a race car information sheet before the event, where you will list key criteria, that will help HSR and CSCC to place you in the right category.
I witnessed first hand how well this can work, watching a race long battle between a '60s Cobra, 90's M3 and 2010's Aston Martin GT4. Driving standards appeared excellent and I could almost guarantee these drivers got out beaming, despite the unusual mix. The Cobra won, by the way. Here is a more traditional battle from the event:
Q. What changes to my car do I need to make?
For those of you who race with us at Spa, please forget about their requirements, this is a different event.
A. There are some changes you will need to make in advance of shipping your car. 1. Strictly no anti-freeze or waterless coolant allowed. Distilled water, with a non-slippery additive, such as 'Water Wetter' or 'Stay Frosty' would be suitable.
2. Only 5 or 6 point belts are permitted, no 4 point. They must of course be in-date (as per the label, MSUK extensions do not apply). 3. FHR is mandatory (HANS, or Simpson) for all drivers in all cars, regardless of car age. 4. Large, black numbers on a white background, on hood and doors. Yellow, fluorescent numbers are not permitted, they are too difficult to be seen from race control/timekeeping (which is very high above the track). 5. A side window net is required for all open cars. Closed cars (with windows) do not need nets.
6. If you are taking part in the Daytona 24 hour or Sebring 12 Hour races you will need good front and rear lights (indicators not required). Daytona in particular is floodlit, but lights are both a requirement and needed.
7. FIA homologated rigid foam is required on any roll bar that could receive contact from your helmet in the event of an accident.
8. Fixed racing seats are required for all cars, they don't need to be in date, but must be safe and secure. A moulded foam seat that sits in the chassis, for example those used in a Caterham, is acceptable.
All other requirements are the same as you are used to in the UK. The scrutineers I met were very friendly and welcoming.
Q. What tyres can I use?
A. Due to the high speed nature of the circuits and local availability of tyres, we are making a change from our normal series regulations, for these two events only. Any size and type of tyre will be allowed on any car, provided they fit within the confines of the bodywork as allowed within CSCC regulations for your series. Yes, that means slicks, wets, treaded, radial, crossply etc. This will give you a competitive chance against the international competition, particularly for those of you who normally race on Dunlop historic tyres here (Hoosiers are more widely used in the US). David Hinton highly recommends that Dunlop Historics are not used, due to the lack of grip should the high speed circuits experience a rain shower. HSR's nominated tyre supplier are Sasco. It is worth contacting them in advance to enquire about what they would recommend, then pre-order, so they can supply and fit them at the circuits. Alternatively, fit a fresh set of 'boots' to the car before shipping.
Q. Are the events live-streamed, or can I listen to commentary? A. There is no live-streaming, however, the events are high profile and I saw plenty of film crews taking clips for social media, including a team from Goodwood. The commentary team will be well known to those of you who follow Le Mans and IMSA races. It includes Sunderland's Brian Till. You can listen to live commentary back home, via the web, a link will be provided.
Q. Can I run open pipes? A. You can make as much noise as you'd like, both events are unsilenced. Have a listen, to some of the cars in action at Daytona this last year, speakers up!
Q. Will my transponder work? A. MyLaps/AMB transponders are used in the States too, so no need to change anything. Live timing will be available, with a link provided before the event.
Q. How long will the car be away for? A. You will need to bring your car to a southern England location approximately 6 weeks before the event. It should arrive back in the UK for your collection approximately 6 weeks after the event you are competing in. Where you will take your car, will depend on the shipping company we use, it is highly likely to be an acceptable, inland location.
Q. When will entries open? What's the plan with payment?
Please see later in this article for price estimate.
We will give you a further price update in April, at which point we will be asking for a deposit.
In August, drivers will be given a final quote and will then be asked for the balance payment.
Q. Ok, how much is it going to cost?
A. It is, of course, the number one question you've been asking us. Well, it's still not possible to give you an exact answer, but we do have a better estimate. The nearer we get to the event the more accurate the pricing. Assuming you are racing your own, 'average' sized and average value race car, with a bare minimum of spares, entered into the sprint races at Daytona, the current cost estimate is around £9750. This could vary by some margin, depending on currency and shipping fluctuations, plus the numbers of CSCC members attending. This early cost estimate includes:
Containerised shipping from the UK to Florida and back, for your race car and a very small quantity of essential equipment/spares. The CSCC team would be present to assist loading.
Road transport to and from the US port to the circuit, plus unloading and loading.
Race entry, for one or two drivers sharing a car in the sprint races. Two drivers = first driver does one race, second driver does two races.
3 x 25 minute test sessions.
Liability insurance on track.
Carnet and associated paperwork.
Gala dinner at a local restaurant.
CSCC Administration and organisation.
Costs to enter the Classic 24 Hours at Daytona, instead of the sprint races would add around £1700.
In addition, if you are wanting to enter the sprint races at Sebring (in addition to Daytona), the current cost estimate is £2500
Road transport from Daytona to Sebring and from there to the US port, including loading and unloading.
Race entry, for one or two drivers sharing a car. Two drivers = first driver does one race, second driver does two races.
3 x 25 minute test sessions.
Liability insurance on the track.
Storage for the 3+ weeks between the two events.
CSCC Administration and organisation.
Costs to enter the Classic 12 Hours of Sebring, instead of the Sebring sprint races would add around £925.
Q. What isn't included?
A. This isn't an exhaustive list, but you'll need to pay for, or arrange:
Total loss insurance for your car during transportation. We will administer this for you, but given the different value of each car, your quote will understandably vary.
Hotels and food
Hospitality at the circuit (optional). We will give you this option on the entry form.
Garage at Daytona (optional)
ESTA (aka tourist visa, $21)
Photos: HSR/Patrick Tremblay
Q. I think I can get that cheaper/why aren't you using Ro/Ro etc. A. There is almost always a cheaper way to do things, if you don't mind doing more work, compromise, or increasing risk. The CSCC is offering these events to its members with an aim to cover costs (not lose money, but not profiteer either). We will choose a shipping company with a strong record of delivering cars safely and on time. We have ruled out Roll on-roll off, to lessen the risk of damage or handling, by those unfamiliar with the foibles of a valuable race car.
Q. You'd mentioned arrive and drive as an option? A. We have spoken to a number of preparers, with a variety of cars available to you. Grass Paddock Racing have been particularly helpful to us, including producing this table.
We have yet to find any option to hire an older classic race car here. We understand that the MINI's from www.grasspaddock.com/ are from approximately $1100 per day (those available in the state of Florida have a lower delivery cost), whilst MX-5 Mk1s are $1500 per day from BSI Racing, with Mk2, 3 and 4 available too. This should include delivery, mechanic support, tyres, fuel etc. based on the sort of track time the cars will see in testing and sprint races. A BMW M2 is available from TLM Racing www.tlmusa.com/racerental. Duane Neyer Racing www.dnmracing.com have two SCCA Spec Racer 3 available (think Radical type). Dynasty Racing www.dynasty-racing.com have a Spec. Porsche Boxster available for hire.
No prices have been received for renting the 944 Turbo's from Dassport.com For those with considerably deeper pockets (well in to 5 figures), the latest spec 911 Cup cars can be hired from www.charleswichtracing.com.
Rather than the CSCC get involved, we invite you to talk to, politely negotiate and book directly with the companies themselves. If you decide to rent a race car then we will of course offer you entry costs minus the shipping and transport fees.
Q. Can the CSCC arrange my flights, hire car and hotel too? A. No, sorry, there are just too many variables, plus we'd need to be a registered travel agent! We'll leave these arrangements to you, to suit your timescales, budget and comfort level.
Recollections Of The Event
David Smitheram, CSCC Director
In November 2022 I, flew direct from Heathrow to Orlando International (MCO), with Virgin, costing around £350 return (economy), an easy 9 hour flight. I used booking.com to stay in a different, economy hotel almost each night, to get a better feel for the state, this being my first time to Florida. Using my own Hertz 'Gold' account, I'd booked a normal car, but on arrival had a no-cost upgrade to a new Dodge Challenger. Be warned that a hire car is likely to be as expensive as your flight, whatever you book.
The drive from Orlando to Daytona Beach was straightforward, just under an hour and a half on freeway and two lane roads. It's worth noting that a number of the Interstate sections have tolls. These were billed straight to Hertz and on to my credit card, the advantage being that I could use the express lanes and not have to stop for tickets/payment.
Daytona Beach felt safe enough for me to walk around after dark, enjoying Tacos at a local restaurant for less than $20 all in. For those new to the US, be aware that it is customary to tip in the region of 20%. The next morning I woke annoyingly early, so used the time to walk a few miles on the beach, passing cars parked on the sand.
On arrival at the circuit we head to the welcome tent to sign (in photo behind the hire car) and collect the necessary passes, before entering the inner access road and car parks.
I'll skip the details of my many meetings I'd arranged at the circuit, with most of the findings detailed through this event. I will say that HSR are well organised, friendly too. They are now owned by IMSA, but the parent company appear to leave the running of the events to David Hinton and his HSR team. I consider the CSCC to have a great variety of cars racing with us, but at the Daytona event I had the pleasure of seeing everything from Mk1 Mazda MX-5, '60s classics including Elan, E-Type, American muscle (including ex Nascar/TransAm), through to modern cars and sports racers. How about a Le Mans 24 hour-winning Rothmans Porsche 956? Perhaps the most numerous car was the Porsche Cayman GT4, my personal favourite being the exact Corvette C7R that I saw up close at Le Mans, in 2019.
I had the pleasure of being in the course car at the start of one of the races. Wow that banking is steep! My only experience of driving on banking was at Rockingham, I can tell you that Daytona is considerably steeper. Everything about the venue is bigger than what we're used to, the grandstand seating is incredibly tall and steep (sadly closed during this event) and the noise from the cars is incredible, with many being unsilenced. All of the paddocks are tarmac, the loos are clean and the low grandstands around the infield are free of charge, with plenty of space available. You can walk close to the bottom of the banked areas and also spectate from the tops of one of the garage blocks too.
As a car lover, this is event is just superb, you can get up close to the cars and drivers, no roped off areas, no snobbery either. If you bring your family they will almost certainly enjoy it too, before wanting to experience some of Floridas other attractions, beaches, Disney, NASA, Everglades, Keys etc. As darkness falls during the 24 hour, so the atmosphere changes and builds, the hot daytime temperatures (mid 20s) drop a little, the floodlights go on and spectator bbq's are lit. With the whole venue floodlit it's easy to keep up with the racing.
Photo: HSR/Patrick Tremblay
I headed back to Daytona Beach late on Saturday night, up early on Sunday for the 3 hour drive south to Sebring. I'd describe much of what I saw of Florida in the 800+ miles I covered, as a sort of sub-tropical Norfolk. It's flat and unremarkable, but not unpleasant, it is certainly nice to feel warm sunshine too at this time of year.
Sebring was hosting a trackday on the Sunday, with a company I'd used before at other circuits in the States. I enjoyed a couple of parade laps in the Dodge, then got chatting with some local Corvette owners and they agreed to take me out for some hot laps. I paid (with my own money) to hire a helmet and sign on as a passenger, then enjoyed 20 minutes of neck straining thrills in a 700bhp+ Katech Corvette C6 Z06, on slicks with aero. It was unsilenced, the rumble mixing with the blast of air at 150mph, through open windows (as is the norm in US track days). The best known section of track, closest to the pits is still concrete, dating back from 1941 when used by B17's. Yes, it's bumpy, but not as bad as I've heard reported, most cars shimmying and rolling through the loaded up corners, before moving on to smoother tarmac sections. It's a long lap and does take some memorising, it's even longer than Silverstone GP. The mix of corners does mean that cars with handling have a chance at getting back past the big-power, straight-line specialists.
The infrastructure is more typical of what we're used to at many of the UK circuits, it's not as grand as Daytona, but feels more intimate.
Spectating is not as easy as Daytona, the track being flat and spread out, but viewing from the grandstands overlooking the pits and start straight gives you a full volume treat (ear plugs recommended for extended viewing).
Sunday night I stayed locally, in a motel on the edge of Sebring, before heading east on Monday morning, to the coast, driving north on highway A1A. I wanted to see an Alligator, but the locals say they're elusive until after dark, so I had to make do with seeing a large one that had been run over! The topography is flat all the way up the coast, with a couple of nice beaches to stop at. My destination for the final night was Coco Beach, just along from Cape Canaveral. Sadly a Space-X rocket launch was delayed due to an impending storm.
Breakfast, another walk on a beach (in strong winds) and it was back to Orlando for the flight home. The exchange rate has improved since I went in November, which helps considerably with costs. Gas is still about half the price we pay in the UK, but food and hotels are on a par, certainly in any tourist areas. I am confident that CSCC members will have an unforgettable time, especially if it is combined with a mini break. Talking of which, I knew that CSCC drivers Danny Cassar and Garry Barlow were at Daytona, so we met briefly for a chat, before I continued with meetings.
Co-ordSport Tin Tops and WOSP New Millennium driver, Danny Cassar continues: A group of us went out to Florida to see what the racing would be like. Having been to several Daytona 500s we knew the venue was something else, from the 100,000+ Grandstand to the iconic 31 degree high banks (the weather wasn't bad either). Around the paddocks there was a nice relaxed atmosphere and most of the teams tucked in to the plentiful garage space.
There was lots of different classes racing with a lot of cars comparable to our own club, with the American twist there was a few more V8s around. There are some things that are almost priceless, standing atop the garages on the infield and watching a Porsche 956 come off speedway turn 4 and full chat passing more modern machinery, before heading in to the tri oval and turn 1 with the huge grandstand behind, it was something else. It always feels like the Disneyworld of racing for me, the perfect weather, immaculately kept venue and iconic views in every direction.
I really hope to be able to compete there this year as it would be a huge bucket list item ticked off.
Former (2011-2021) Adams & Page Swinging 60s and Mintex Classic K driver, Neil Merry.
Well, having owned and raced a C3 big block Corvette race car for a number of years in the UK, we decide to throw caution to the wind and try racing the car in the US. Having everything lined up, a virus put pay to our plans, so after a 2 year wait we were able to combine shipping with club president Mike Jordan and a couple of others to get the car to Daytona.
Flights booked to Orlando, I had been able to persuade Christian from Speedwork’s motorsport to share the driving duties. As he was intending to run the New York Marathon he would already be in the USA.
We arrive at the circuit, signed on and headed to the pits, where the car had been unloaded into a garage, with spares and tyres all in place. Mid-afternoon we attended the first of two detailed briefings, the first was for new-to-Daytona drivers, which was hosted by fellow drivers and included a tour of the track, in a Disney-style carriage. Detailed help and warnings were given out, with the emphasis on safety and enjoying time at the event.
The second briefing I attended was hosted by David from HSR, he's a fellow brit, again an emphasis was placed on enjoying the event safely.
Thursday, we were on track for the first time, a little daunting for my first time at Daytona, but with Mike and Andy Jordan in the garage I was able to pick their brains.
Words are difficult to explain the amazing experience of running at this track. Passing the flag guy feels like a rock star, truly an experience, and as night fell it became even more amazing. I said to my co-driver “ It doesn’t get much better than this” and he agreed, we ran for 3 of the 6 hours of track time available due to an engine issue, sadly we did not make the Sebring race but did attend the event. Again, it looked great, a very different location to Daytona but steeped in history.
Photo: HSR/Patrick Tremblay
An expensive event for sure, but the opportunity doesn’t come around that often, I am so glad we grabbed it with both hands and had a lot of fun.
CSCC President, Mike Jordan.
We competed for the first time at Daytona at the actual Rolex 24 Hour back in 2002 with a GT3R, owned by one of our customers, that we shipped out when we were doing a lot of GT racing both in UK and FIA in Europe. It was quite a stressful event and I always promised myself to go back one day and enjoy it some more.
Photo: HSR/Patrick Tremblay
The Rolex there is now super-professional and very expensive to do, so that became unattainable for us, but the November Daytona Historics, run by HSR, is altogether a fantastic alternative option. I drove in the first HSR Classic back in 2013 in a GT40, but not prepared by our team. Whilst it was an amazing event to drive in, I really wanted to go there with our own car from JRT.
We finally managed it in 2022, when we decided to ship out our 2004 Porsche 996 Supercup car to take part in the 24 hour, which is actually 4 x 45 minute races spread over the whole 24 hour period, so you end up having around 5 hours between each of your races, but still with the full-on flavour of a 24 hour race.
The American team at HSR were absolutely some of the most friendly, helpful people I have ever come across, they genuinely seemed to appreciate we had shipped a car out there and went out of their way to help in every way they could. The Tech team (scrutineers) were more interested in looking at our cars Wagenpass that showed Wolf Henzler had won at Indy in that actual car in 2004, than checking too much on the car. They do seem to take the view we are all adults, we know the risks of such a fast track and would only be taking a car there that was of good quality.
We booked in for some extra sprint races that allowed you more test, practice and qualifying sessions, just to get extra track time. We didn't actually do the extra races, but the additional test time was just great. The track is a fantastic challenge and of course very high speed, for example our Supercup car at Spa or Silverstone GP will pull about 155 MPH, where at Daytona we showed just under 180 MPH over the start line. With such high speeds, tyres are king, and pressures and temperature spreads must be very conservative, on a faster GT car like ours Michelin give a suggested camber and high minimum pressure set up which is totally based on the forces on the banking and compromise the infield part of the lap which then becomes a bit short on grip, especially during the night races which are colder.
The whole event caters for cars from the 60s in age categories up to brand new GT3 or Prototype cars, their view out there is if you have a car they will find a class it fits into, rather different from trying to get an FIA HTP these days......
I cannot speak highly enough of the event, one of the most fun I have ever done in 43 years of racing, it was for Andrew and I intended to be a once only experience of a lifetime, it's of course not cheap to race there, but life is short, so this November we will be back on the High Banks (see you there?).