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Sebring Raceway: A Brief History this part 1 has now exceeded 40 posts (115 posts)

Old 03-15-2014, 05:27 PM
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Default Sebring Raceway: A Brief History this part 1 has now exceeded 40 posts (115 posts)

The way to part 2 "A brief History of Sebring Raceway" is here:
https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/g...-40-posts.html
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Sebring Raceway: A Brief History
By Bill Wilson March 14, 2014
Nothing tests the mettle of a machine, or a person for that matter, like time. Entertainment careers, politicians, internal organs, marriages, buildings, and automobiles are all judged based by how long they last. This fact helps to show why Sebring international Raceway, with its annual 12 hour marathon, is the most highly acclaimed 3.74 miles in the world.

Sebring Raceway is located in south-central Florida, part of the tiny community of Sebring, Florida that harbors 10,491 souls. During WW2 the site was home to Hendricks Field, a military training school that taught pilots how to operate the B-17 Flying Fortress. After the war, Alec Ulmann, an aeronautical engineer, was scouting locations for a business venture. His ambition was to convert former military planes for civilian use. But, once he saw the long, low, flat airfields at the former base, he instantly pictured the location hosting an American version of Le Mans.

He poured his limited resources into the venture, and, on New Year’s Eve 1950, 30 race cars from around the country showed up to compete in the very first Sebring contest. Amenities were sparse to say the least. The base had not been designed for racing purposes, and the facility consisted of a few scattered toilets, a handful of hay bales, and a lot of open space. That event lasted six hours. It was won by the team of Ralph Deshon and Fritz Koster, who borrowed a spectator’s Crosley Hot Shot to participate in the event. Ironically, the little vehicle is now considered to be one of the worst 100 cars of all time.
The next race wasn’t held until 15 months later, on March 15, 1952. It was officially billed as the 12 Hours of Sebring. Since then it has been held every year since 1974, when, according to reports, around 1,000 fans showed up anyway. The contest is part of the Triple Crown of international endurance racing, along with Daytona and Le Mans.


The course was originally 5.2 miles long and included the Webster Turn. In 1966, however, five people died during the event, leading to the course being widened and slightly lengthened the next year. It was modified several other times in the 89s and 90s.
The surface is notoriously rough, with much of it still as it was during its airfield days in WW2. Sparks commonly fly off undercarriages as the racers cross transition zones between asphalt and concrete. It has several high speed corners mixed with long straights, with almost no elevation change. The track’s flat topography makes it extremely challenging, even for experienced drivers. These problems become even more acute after a good, soaking rain.


Sebring’s legendary status has led to its being featured in numerous racing video games, including Total Immersion Racing, Sports Car GT, iRacing, and Forza Motorsport. During the winter the Skip Barber Racing School uses the track, as a suitable arena in which to train the next generation of professional drivers.
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Last edited by senor honda; 03-17-2019 at 03:06 AM. Reason: updating
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Old 03-15-2014, 06:22 PM
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Carroll Shelby and Sebring: Two Names, One Legend

By Bill Wilson
Some men’s names are forever linked with a particular piece of real estate: Davy Crockett and the Alamo; Neil Armstrong and the moon; generals Grant and Lee and the Appomattox court house. The same can be said of Carroll Shelby and Sebring. Both as a driver and designer, the legendary figure graced that 3.74 miles of asphalt and concrete with his presence in ways that will live forever in automotive history.
Carroll Shelby was born to move fast. During WWII he piloted fighter planes and bombers, though his dislike of military discipline kept him stateside during the great conflict. After leaving the Army Air Corps he dabbled in various enterprises until 1952, when he found his true calling: motorsports. Shelby’s first race was a quarter-mile event in January of that year; he drove a hot rod equipped with a flathead Ford engine. In May of ’52 he ran in his first road race, a competition between MG-***; he won. Later that same day he raced a second time, this time against Jaguar XK 120s. Once again he emerged victorious.
PHOTOS: See More of the 1965 Ford GT40

In 1954, Aston Martin asked Shelby to drive a DB3 at Sebring. He did so, coming in second. In November of that year he was involved in a devastating accident while participating in the Carrera Pan Americana Mexico, flipping his car four times. The wreck caused substantial damage to one of his arms, requiring multiple surgeries over the next several years to correct.
PHOTOS: See More of the 1964 Shelby Daytona
Usually, a broken arm would sideline most racers for an indefinite time. Not Carroll Shelby. He came back to Sebring in 1955, this time with co-driver Phil Hill. His arm still in a cast at the time, he had his crew tape his hand to the steering wheel so he could compete. When the dust was settled, it looked like the pair had won the competition. Then came the bad news: a scoring error was found, relegating the duo to second place.

The rest of the 1950s saw Shelby’s racing career reach its peak, with Sports Illustrated naming him Driver of the Year in 1957. Then, in 1960, repeated chest pains drove him to seek medical help. His doctor prescribed nitroglycerin tablets, which alleviated the pain but couldn’t save his career. Carroll Shelby retired from racing at the age of 37.
As with the broken arm, such a setback would have finished most men. In Shelby’s case, however, it only caused him to reinvent himself, coming back as a race car builder and designer. This passion led him back to Sebring, this time as the builder of the Shelby Daytona, and then as the man who massaged Ford GT40 to success.

Ford and Ferrari: the Grudge that Wouldn’t Die
Henry Ford II was delighted by the news that Enzo Ferrari wanted to sell his motor sports company in 1963. What better way to add to the Ford family’s empire than by acquiring such a prize? But the deal went sour later that year, largely due to Ferrari’s for a number of reasons, including Enzo’s fear of losing his autonomy and Ford spending apparently too much time delving into Ferrari’s financials. Ferrari
PHOTOS: See More of the 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype GT-104
Enraged, Ford swore he would get revenge by “beating Ferrari’s ass” on the racetrack. To this end, he commissioned his company’s GT project, intended to go head to head with the Italians. Unfortunately, early efforts proved less than successful. The GT failed to finish in the Nurburgring in 1964. Three weeks later all three Ford entrants were retired early at Le Mans.

Team manager John Wyer had not been given the time or resources to get the GT40 to where it needed to be. The project was handed over to Shelby in 1964, who separately had success in his Shelby Daytona, which brought glory (and vindication) to Ford and the US at the 1964 Sebring (GT class win) and again in 1965.
The GT40, did the same in 1966, 1967, and 1969 in its Mk1, Mk4, and Mk1 (again) versions. Undeterred by a broken arm, bad heart, and countless other challenges, Shelby proved what he and his people could so at Sebring.
Image Sources: Wikipedia
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Last edited by senor honda; 12-30-2014 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:52 AM
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Last edited by senor honda; 12-30-2014 at 02:37 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:42 AM
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Local Racer, and tracks that have survived
This is related to a local racer and local racing history. While there are many dead drag strips, Lemans, Sebring and Daytona are still around. If it offends you, don't read it. -Bob

Here's the thread that inspired this post:
https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/ge...-liveries.html



I knew Dave Heinz, whose racing number was Heinz 57.
I saw him run the Corvette in the 24 hours of Daytona. I liked the car's looks and when I designed the jacket patch to be sold at the track that year, I put his car on the jacket patch. I probably have the only one left........on my MacDill Sports Car Club jacket.

Dave Heinz was a car dealer from Tampa....started with small British
BMC Sprites, Midgets, etc.........then he sold more expensive exotics....moved his dealership to Hillsborough Ave....Dave won the "Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea" race sponsored by Car and Driver Magazine.......Later on, spoofs of the Cannonball Baker were named "Gumball Rallye"
and "Cannonball" in 1976.

When Dave Heinz passed away from cancer, one of the guys in the shop knew the value and the significance of that trophy and took it home with him..........I don't know what happened to his other trophies..... If anyone knows a Native American Indian named Ed MacDonald, he probably knows more than I do.

2016 Update:
Dave Heinz, local car dealer from Tampa Florida was a winner one year
and his trophy was rescued from a storage room at his car dealership on Hillsborough Avenue, Tampa by one of his employees when he passed away from lung cancer. The location of that trophy is unknown today 1 January 2016........but one day it will resurface.......

-----------------------------------------
How not quitting won a championship.....
I was at Road Atlanta the year Dave Heinz won the SCCA National Championship in Formula A.
That car had more power than a human could control. When you floored the gas, the car jumped sideways.....427 fuel injected Chevy V8.........at the halfway point in the final championship race, he was so far behind in 3rd place that the guy next to me said " Dave Heinz should just give up." Always optimistic, I said "What for? The other guys could always break".

The cars in first and second place did not break.....

They both spun out......and Dave Heinz drove to a National Championship.
From then on, his stationary and his business logo had a line across the
page left to right and a tiny winged Formula A car at the right edge......

That's when Dave got the Corvette......It was raced all over the country as well as Daytona, Sebring and Lemans. The huge fiberglass fender flares were made in a small shop on Lauber Way in Drew Park, Tampa by Rick Jellison.

Dave Heinz once told me that you could win plenty of races. You could win National Championships. You could be one heck of a racer, but until you drive a Corvette, no one knows your name.
Once you drive a Corvette..........EVERYBODY knows your name.-Bob
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What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
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Last edited by senor honda; 12-31-2015 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:29 PM
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Default Sebring’s Gallery of Champions

Six Decades of Racing Greatness in One Room

By George Kennedy. I was recently at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and it was an impressive experience, to say the least. The track is uneven and dated– but the drivers don’t care. They race there for the history, and Sebring is full of it. Want proof? Then check out Sebring’s Gallery of Champions; a rotating cast of historical cars. It is insane to see what they have ‘just lying around’ on race day.




The car that brought me down here was the 16-cylinder Porsche 917. It was a monster car, and crazy to think that, while the engine was run on a dyno several times, it never even ran when fitted to the car. Talk about “what if?”
RELATED: The Monster 16-Cylinder Porsche 917 That Never Raced
Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2

Panoz is known for making wild supercars that keep with a tradition of front engine layouts. This one featured a Ford 5.0-liter V8 making 500 horsepower and 450 lb ft of torque, and competed in the 2007 American Le Mans Series.
PHOTOS: See More of the Panoz Esperante
1968 Porsche 909 Berg

This white Porsche 909 looks like a mini 917, but it was actually built for 1968 hill climb season. The 909 Berg (German for ‘mountain’), was powered by a 2.0-liter flat eight that made 275 horsepower– more than enough to move a car that weighed only 849 pounds.
RELATED: See Photos of the Porsche 908 Can-Am Spyder
1975 BMW CSL

The CSL is one of my favorite cars of all time. The “Batmobile,” driven by greats like Brian Redman and Sam Posey, it had a 3.5-liter inline-6 producing 430 horsepower. That engine would go on to underpin a generation of BMW power plants. This particular car was the winner of the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring.
RELATED: See Photos of the 1970 BMW 3.0 CSL Group 2
1986 Porsche 962

In the decade that followed the CLS’s reign, things got really wild. Turbocharging changed the game, as exemplified by engines like the 620-hp 3.2-liter flat six in the 962. This car was raced by A.J. Foyt in ’87 and ’88, and finished fourth at Sebring in the latter year.
PHOTOS: See More of the 1986 Porsche 962
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Recreation)

Had this been a true 250 TR, I would have been down on my knees bowing, exclaiming “We’re not worthy!” Wayne Campbell-style. Still, this car has a history. The body actually belongs to car No. 728, which did compete at Sebring in 1958 (wearing No. 15), but did not finish. Following the race, the cars were sent back to Ferrari to be re bodied before racing at Le Mans.
RELATED: See Photos of the 1957 Ferrari 250 TR
Much later, the body was fitted to a 1961 Ferrari 250 chassis. It still features one of the greatest engines of all time, Ferrari’s single overhead cam 3.0-liter V12, making 300 horsepower. This car was even driven by the great Derek Bell on an exhibition lap around Sebring:

It was a perfect marriage of old and new prior to the all-important 2014 12 Hours of Sebring.

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Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
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Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

Last edited by senor honda; 04-05-2014 at 07:32 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:16 PM
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A bit of Sebring history:
[h=1]1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage[/h]




[h=2]About This Car[/h] Although Maserati had enjoyed competition success with its championship-winning 250F grand prix car, the Modenese company soon found itself in dire financial straits. With the introduction and sales success of the road-going 3500 GT, however, the company’s health improved drastically, prompting a renewed interest in creating a sports car that could be raced, not by the factory, but by privateers. Credit for the resulting Tipo 60/61 goes to engineer extraordinaire Giulio Alfieri who during 1958 created this stunning sports racing car. Its “Birdcage” nickname comes from its unique and very innovative trellis chassis construction, made of a plethora of small tubes between 10 and 15 mm thick. Once welded together (all 200 of them!), they created a structure as rigid as it was light, weighing just 36 kgs, clothed in svelte wheel-hugging aluminium body – a true work of art and testimony to Maserati craftsmanship!

[h=3]- Quick Specs -[/h]
  • [h=4]Make[/h] Maserati
  • [h=4]Model[/h] Birdcage
  • [h=4]Year[/h] 1960
  • [h=4]Engine[/h] 2.9L 4-cylinder
  • [h=4]HP[/h] 250



Into this structure was fitted the Tipo 60’s 1,990 cc inline two-cam four-cylinder engine, very far back towards the cockpit. Independent front suspension provided superb turn-in while the de Dion rear axle with transverse leaf spring and coil over telescopic shock absorbers made the car easily controllable. In what would become Maserati’s last factory entry in decades, a Tipo 60 was entered at Rouen Les Essarts in July 1959, winning the race outright. Naturally, the phones started ringing off the hook in Modena!
Six Tipo 60s were sold before the 1961 upgrade to Tipo 61, which benefited from an increased capacity of 2,890 cc and delivered 250 hp – more than enough horsepower for a 600 kg heavy car. In all, 17 were built, including one Tipo 60 that had been upgraded. The car’s notable wins were the Camoradi team victories at the Nürburgring 1000 kms in 1960 and again in 1961, against the might of rival factory teams.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2010 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.
250 hp, 2,890 cc overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine, two Weber 45 DC03 carburetors, five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension, rigid de Dion rear axle, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2200 mm (86.6")
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Michel Zumbrunn and Wilem Oosthoek Collection
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MAR 9, APR 13, May 13, JUN 8, 2019: All Cars Every 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/e...ast-tampa.html

AND Every Saturday: Dunedin Gearheads car meet click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/e...ml#post9408927

Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/b...ontact-us.html

Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:57 PM
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Dave White and 12 Hours of Sebring
Some pictures:
https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/vw-audi-porsche-tech/817887-selling-porsche-935-street-racecar-dave-white-12-hours-sebring.html#post9360562


Dave White of Tampa Florida raced one of these 935's that was twin-turbo equipped, in the 70's at Sebring. The car had huge brakes and an on-board oil heater to warm the engine before startup.
There were on-board air jacks that instantly lifted the car, and there was a tunnel under the car that sucked the car down to the track. It was red and the nicest race car I had ever seen.

Dave White leased a grenade-engine to qualify with and Friday we swapped out the engine for one that was supposed to last for the 12 hours. A few hours into the Saturday 12 hour race, the race engine expired. The grenade engine that had gone into another car? ....it finished the race!

We were next to the pits of the factory Coca-Cola Porsches and our tent was beside their huge trailers. They had astroturf-covered plywood floors, windowed walls and lighting in the roof that sheltered their mechanics. After their sponsors and dignitaries had a catered lunch, we were told to help ourselves to some food since the caterers would take it away in ten minutes. We ate quickly and went back to swapping the engines.

It was longer than ten minutes, though as team by team, Porsche invited EVERYBODY that was racing a Porsche that year to also have lunch. We had worked a 23 hour (or 25 hour) day but the car was totally prepped before we left the track that night. We ate at a real restaurant and got 6 hours of sleep. The next day the crew was dragging but I was fired up! I had been going to USF plus working and getting 4 hours sleep nightly, so 6 hours to me was like sleeping all weekend!

I had also been helping a fatherless kid, Eric Hartley, with his Awana Scouts pine wood derby car. That Friday night when I called Brandon from the hotel, he had passed the weigh-in. The official scales were a little off but we had carved a "gas tank" into the body just in case, and Eric added lead shot under the "gas cap" until it was weight-legal.

Dave White's Crew Chief was Craig Peroutka and the team Publicist was John Bradley. I didn't know a lot about Porsches, but I could do what I was told to do. In 2014 Craig Peroutka was working at a machine shop in Sarasota County and helping Craig Ross with his Mustangs and a factory aluminum bodied Austin Healy 3000 race car.

When Dave White went out of the race early, we loaned the Coca-Cola Porsches our superior pit lighting and I want to think that helped them to win when it got dark.

Dave White's 935 had a slightly different body, more like the Martini car, although the side profile and the wing was the same. At one time, the rules in Europe said that the original rear window must be installed, but the original glass was located under the plastic window for streamlining. At that time, the rules said the body had to have the proper side profile but were pretty loose otherwise. You could look under the plastic rear window and see where the original glass window once was.

I saw Dave White about 2013 at Reeves Porsche Cars and Coffee in Tampa. Dave White Motorsports had become Vortex Motorsports and Dave was associated in some way with some of his former mechanics at a shop called Chilli's Motorsports.
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MAR 9, APR 13, May 13, JUN 8, 2019: All Cars Every 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/e...ast-tampa.html

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Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/b...ontact-us.html

Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

Last edited by senor honda; 05-19-2014 at 10:59 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:29 PM
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Default John Bishop

[h=1]IMSA founder John Bishop dies at age 87[/h] By Noah Joseph



The motor racing community in North America and around the world is mourning the passing of one of its most influential figures, John M. Bishop, co-founder of the International Motor Sports Association that has developed into the premier sanctioning body for sports car racing in North America.

Bishop and his late wife Peggy launched the IMSA in 1969 when NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. called him to discuss the need for such an organization. Bishop at the time was serving as executive director of the Sports Car Club of America, a role from which played an influential role in developing sports car racing in America but from which he resigned that same year. He spearheaded the launch of the inaugural IMSA GT Championship in 1971, bringing major sponsors and manufacturers on board and organizing new events while successfully integrating existing prestige races at Daytona and Sebring.

After building up the IMSA but facing some health issues, Bishop sold the body in 1989 to the organizers of the St. Petersburg race, but remained involved in the American sports car racing scene. He served as a Grand-Am commissioner and lived to see that series merge with the American Le Mans Series into the United SportsCar Championship that now runs under the auspices of the IMSA.

Bishop passed away at the age of 87 at his home in San Rafael, California. He is survived by his son Mitch and four granddaughters, his wife Peggy having died last year and his sons Mark and Marshal having predeceased him.
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AND Every Saturday: Dunedin Gearheads car meet click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/e...ml#post9408927

Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
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Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:40 AM
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Default 1970 Sebring 12 Hours

Andretti, Steve McQueen and WWII bombers still parked in the background......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1sihpc-oTM

Who is that guy with the white hat that waves out the Ferraris?
Is that Senor Honda?

This film captures the excitement of the 1970 12-hour endurance race at Sebring. A film shot during the golden age of racing. It features notorious race drivers like Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Jacky Ickx, Pedro Rodriguez, celebrity driver/actor Steve McQueen and mythical cars like the Ferrari 512S and Porsche 917. There is non-stop racing action as Ferrari driver Mario Andretti barely escapes with the lead over Steve McQueen, driving with a cast on his broken foot. Produced by Triangle Productions in association with the Automobile Racing Club of Florida.
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Default 1963 Sebring 12 Hours

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvFPqW3vczQ

By Louis Galanos
Two corner marshals going to the aid of Ken Miles and his Shelby Cobra at Sebring in 1963. Not too much aid mind you lest you get the car disqualified. As it turned out the steering arm was failing and the car eventually retired. 1963 was the first year of the Ford - Ferrari War. Dave Friedman photo.









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MAR 9, APR 13, May 13, JUN 8, 2019: All Cars Every 2nd Saturday Free Breakfast click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/e...ast-tampa.html

AND Every Saturday: Dunedin Gearheads car meet click: https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/e...ml#post9408927

Tampa Racing.com covers the Tampa car scene and supports many fund raisers, worthy causes and events that enrich our community. We hope you enjoy them all.
What do I do? ---- on-site *Aftermarket* spring/suspension installations --- on-site impact wrenching---street lowering with your own stock springs...........True Bi-xenon HID projector headlight conversions........ Much more at Bob's Garage!
https://www.tamparacing.com/forums/b...ontact-us.html

Have a great day! [email protected] and 813-839-4281 (24 hrs)

Last edited by senor honda; 10-12-2015 at 03:53 PM.
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Quick Reply: Sebring Raceway: A Brief History this part 1 has now exceeded 40 posts (115 posts)


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