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The 12 Hours Of Sebring was known as the American version of the
famous 24 Hours Of Le Mans race. Cars had to endure 12 straight hours
of grueling punishment, while rotating drivers, and running in any type of
weather. The main difference between the 12 Hours Of Sebring and the
24 Hours Of Le Mans race was that the Sebring race, located in Florida,
contained a great deal of American cars. And better yet, the specific
1963-1970 time period saw some of the greatest American cars (and
drivers) in history competing side-by-side. Mark Donahue, Jim Hall,
Roger Penske, Carroll Shelby, and many more, running Chaparrals, Shelby
Cobras, Corvettes, Ford GT40’s, these were really exciting times!
1963 12 Hours Of Sebring (color – 20 min)
An excellent color film from 1963. Some legendary cars (and drivers) are seen in this race. John Surtees (who
takes the win) is in a Ferrari 250P, Graham Hill in a Ferrari 330 TRI/LM, Roger Penske in a 1963 Ferrari GTO,
Bruce McLaren in a Jaguar E-Type, Phil Hill and Dan Gurney in Shelby Cobras, A.J. Foyt in a Nickey Chevrolet
sponsored Corvette, Jim Hall and Hap Sharp in a Chaparral 1, and many others. A great variety of cars are
seen throughout this film, such as Morgans, Triumphs, Austins, Porsches, Alfa Romeos, and the occasional
Lotus. This is an old Speedvision broadcast (watermark in corner) from the series Victory Circle.
1964 12 Hours Of Sebring (color – 10 min)
1964 provided more of the same action as was seen in 1963. This year, Roger Penske is driving a
Corvette, but unfortunately suffers a suspension failure out on the track. According to Sebring rules, he
had to walk back to the pits to get the replacement parts necessary to fix his Corvette, which put
him back 1-1/2 hours in the race. Beautiful Ferrari GTO’s in this one, as well as Dinos and others.
Ferrari dominates this year, but Carroll Shelby and his Cobras take 2nd, making the
Ferrari teams take notice. Ferrari would see a lot more of Ford in the next few years.
1965 12 Hours Of Sebring (color – 24 min)
Subtitled the “12 Hour Grind”, this excellent color film has a lot of footage of the new Ford GT40’s, and pit
commentator Chris Economacki has some great pit interviews. Enzo Ferrari pulls his cars out of competition in
protest just before the race starts, but 8 prototype Ferrari’s are still in the field. The Chaparral Team, consisting
of Jim Hall and Hap Sharp, are the class of the field. This year Jim Hall recruits Roger Penske to be Chaparral’s
pit manager. Torrential rains hit the Sebring Florida track just as the sun is going down, and creates rivers and
lakes around the course. At one point, the cars are driving through water nearly a foot deep. Leader Jim Hall’s
lap time is a painfully slow 12 minutes, but in the end, the popular Chaparral Team take the win.
1966 12 Hours Of Sebring (color – 30 min)
An original ABC Wide World Of Sports broadcast, the 1966 race was filled with excitement and tragedy. The
Ford GT40 and Mk II were the dominant cars, and 1966 was the year that Ford pulled out all the stops to
defeat Ferrari both here and abroad. Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart fielded a Ford GT40, while other Ford
drivers included Mark Donahue, Peter Revson, and A.J. Foyt. In this race, pole sitter Dan Gurney had an
ominous start when his Ford Mk II failed to start on the grid. As the rest of the field ran away, it took Gurney
several minutes to get his Ford fired up. Finally underway, it took Dan less than an hour to put his 427-powered
Ford back in the lead, making the Ferrari teams quite nervous. Team manager Carroll Shelby couldn’t have
been happier as the race was winding down, with Fords running 1-2. But on the last lap, Gurney’s Mk II quits.
Out of the darkness, we see Gurney pushing his car across the finish line for 2nd place. After review, he was
stripped of that position because rules state that all cars had to finish under their own power. This gave 2nd
place to Mark Donahue, with 3rd place going to Peter Revson. A tragedy occurred during the race when
Canadian driver Bob McLean was killed in his Ford GT40. Other drivers in this race included Don Yenko, and
the first female driver in Sebring history, Donna Mae Mims, driving a Yenko Stinger Corvair. Also of note is that
Ferrari did not win any of the classes, a sign of things to come for Ferrari in 1966.
1968 12 Hours Of Sebring (color – 24 min)
1968 would be another tremendous year for the 12 Hours of Sebring. Porsche was the new dominant team,
and would take 1st and 2nd overall, while Roger Penske would take 3rd and 4th places with his Chevrolet
Camaro Team led by driver Mark Donahue. QUALITY NOTE : This footage is not as good as the other
segments. The videotape source waves a bit, but we have cleaned it up as best we could to make it watchable.
1969 12 Hours Of Sebring (color – 22 min)
Very clear footage of the 1969 12 Hours Of Sebring, and a very exciting race. The overall winner would be the
team of Jackie Ickx and Jackie Oliver (also known as the “pair of jacks”) in a Ford GT40, followed by the
factory Ferrari team of Chris Amon and Mario Andretti, 6th place overall was TV’s own Dick Smothers driving a
Porsche 906 E for the Smothers Brothers Team, and even screen star James Garner has a Lola T70 entered.
Roger Penske, with driver Mark Donahue, also has a Lola T70 in the running, but suffered suspension failure.
Porsche captures 4 of the 5 top spots on the grid. Chris Economaki is once again the pit reporter.
1970 12 Hours Of Sebring (color – 22 min)
In what is considered to be the greatest Sebring race ever, the factory Ferrari Team of
Giunti/Vaccarella/Andretti had the race won with 2 hours to go when a wheel bearing let go, a problem seen by
another factory Ferrari team car hours earlier. This forced the Ferrari into a lengthy pit stop. The new leader
was now the Porsche 917K of Rodriguez/Siffert, and in the 2nd place was a little 3.0 liter Porsche 908/20
driven by Peter Revson and Steve McQueen. With the laps winding down, the Rodriguez/Siffert Porsche suffers
a suspension problem, and the Revson/McQueen Porsche find themselves now leading the 12 Hours of
Sebring. The Ferrari Team manager makes a bold move, and on their final pitstop, decides to replace his driver
with Mario Andretti. In a masterful bit of driving, Andretti overtakes Revson’s Porsche with just a couple laps to
go, and goes on to win by a scant 22 seconds, very close considering this was a 12 hour race.