Clearwater, FL — It’s been a tough racing season for Clearwater, Florida-based Historic Sportscar Racing, with every event through the spring and summer cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But as the group moves to its next event Sept. 18-20 at Road America with VSCDA for the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival, things are really looking up. Following that will be the Oct. 8-11 Fall Historics at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the Nov. 4-8 Classic 24 Hour at Daytona and the Dec. 3-6 Sebring Classic 12 Hour.
While all of that has a positive bent, during the last week it’s been overshadowed by the Sept. 2 announcement that Monterey County had cancelled its contract with Cris Vandagriff and HMSA, naming HSR as the official sanctioning body of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Monterey Pre-Reunion — huge news in the vintage racing world.
So, we thought it was time to see what Historic Sportscar Racing’s president David Hinton has to say about all this, and we discussed last week’s announcement that HSR will take over as the sanctioning group for the Monterey events in August 2021.
VM: Was this something that you were seeking or did the track come to you and HSR?
DH: It’s not something I was seeking but the track called to tell me that they were going in a different direction than what they had been doing for the Reunion and wanted to know if I’d be interested in taking it over. I obviously gave it some thought and decided I’d do it.
VM: Your organization is Florida-based, so logistically does that present a bit of a hurdle?
DH: Most of our events are not that close to the Clearwater office, so it really doesn’t make much difference. We’ll go out there probably two weeks before the events to get our feet on the floor and obviously will be making a few visits over the next 12 months before the event happens for planning.
VM: You’ve personally participated in the Historics and Reunion in the past, right?
DH: That’s one of the reasons why I decided to do it. Because I’ve been going there for 10 or 12 years, sometimes competing and sometimes taking clients out there [for his Heritage Motorsports business]. It’s simply the best vintage race in the country. Even though it wasn’t our event, it’s still the best in the country and that’s why I decided to do it because I already know what the event’s all about. I thought I’d be a good person to carry on the event at the same level that it’s been on since its inception.
VM: Do you envision any significant changes to the race groups or car eligibility?
DH: No. I think what they’ve got going on has been phenomenal with the best cars in the world racing out there and I don’t think we need to change that. I think we being involved — some of the people on the East Coast have never been comfortable going out there, so I think they might be a little more inclined to send an entry in now.
VM: So, you will still have an emphasis on cars being period correct?
DH: Absolutely. 100 percent.
VM: Since the previous selection committee disbanded, how will you move forward with a new selection committee?
DH: We’ve already started sending out some invitations to new people for the selection committee. We should have that in place within the next two or three weeks — somewhere between six and eight people deciding on car eligibility. The biggest thing are the driving standards. Everybody knows it [the event] had very, very strict driving standards and that’s something we’ll really, really follow.
VM: The big complaint there has always been about track time.
DH: In my opinion, you’re not going there for track time, you’re going there to be part of the show. If you’re seeking track time you’re going there for the wrong reason. It’s all about the cars. It’s not about driving, not about lap times or how many laps you do — in my opinion, it’s 100 percent about the show. If you want track time, come back two weeks later for the track day.
VM: Will you add to your HSR team to operate the event?
DH: We’ll bring all our regulars and obviously the track has a strong volunteer base that they’re putting together right now and we’ll rely on them as well. Dorsey Schroeder will be the competition director and we’ll bring in outside help where needed.
VM: How will this affect your Heritage Motorsports business?
DH: A little bit because I’m not going to be able to bring my customer cars out there, maybe one or two but I won’t be able to bring full trailers like I normally do, at least not the first year, because I want to dedicate myself to making sure this is done right. Our responsibility will be registration, tech inspection and the on-track activities.
VM: Are you planning anything special or different for the event?
DH: We are going to bring our HSR touch to it — make everyone feel welcome and special. We’re going to stick to what’s worked for us for the last eight years. It must be working for the track to call us.
I’m a week into the job so not too much has happened yet, but we should have the 2021 race group list published in the next few weeks. We’re really looking forward to an amazing event.