This past weekend saw the return of the Savannah Speed Classic to the track on Hutchinson Island in Savannah, Georgia.
Over 100 cars, ranging from a 1919 Ford Model A Speedster to a pair of 2018 Ferrari 488’s. The event is sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing, and the cars are grouped together for races based on weight and engine size.
As at any vintage event, there are always lots of Porsches, and this year’s event was typical, with several 356’s, many variations of 911’s, and a few 914’s. Lots of American cars as well, mostly Camaros, Corvettes, and Mustangs, with a few NASCAR Cup cars joining in on the fun.
For the short sprint races, the cars run in groups and the winner is based on outright speed, but there is an endurance race of about one hour in length each day of the three-day weekend, with cars from mixed groups competing together with the winner determined by a handicap system.
Each car has to make a pit stop with a mandatory driver change, and the length of the pit stop is determined by the car’s average lap time, so the faster cars have to sit longer, slower cars stopped for shorter periods.
One of the unusual features of the Savannah Speed Classic is the opportunity for spectators to buy “Hot Lap” rides, driven around the track by a professional driver in either a BMW racecar or road car, with the fees going to local charities. Last year I was driven by David Donahue in a Porsche 911 GT3 car, and it was quite a ride.
Another feature that sets the Savannah weekend apart is a parade of racecars from the track into downtown Savannah on Thursday, to generate local enthusiasm for the event. The cars are parked in the City Market area, and the owner-drivers are happy to talk about their cars with whoever happens to be in the area.
Practice and qualifying begins Friday morning, and the races start Friday afternoon. The action continues with occasional breaks through the weekend, concluding Sunday afternoon.