The Sebring 12-Hour Endurance Race

Sebring is America’s oldest endurance race and holds a unique position in the history of American sports car racing. The world’s greatest cars and teams competed here for its lucrative starting money and purses (like, a whole $4,000 — if they maximized the contingency money — and Rolex watches to Jim Hall and Hap Sharp in 1965), the chance to go racing during Europe’s winter hiatus and to promote their products in the North American market. During the Fifties and Sixties Sebring was a powerful draw for fans from all over North America (who liked Florida’s weather, too) and brought worldwide attention.

I was recently able to acquire the “Official Records” booklets published by Shell for the Automobile Racing Club of Florida containing copies of the
original timing sheets from 1964, 1965 and 1966, great years in the middle of “The Cobra-Ferrari Wars” period. Being an idiot about time sheets,
I’ve begun to transcribe these records and try to put things straight.

The hourly standings pages will link you to the individual cars’ time sheets which I’ve posted. It’s far, far from complete, but if you ask I’ll try to enter the data.

1964 Sebring Hourly Standings — The links on this page feature the three MG Bs entered by Kjell Qvalle’s British Motor Cars Distributors in San Francisco, particularly the #47 and #48 cars now owned by Butch Gilbert.

1965 Sebring Hourly Standings

1966 Sebring [The hourly standings are not posted yet but John Alderson requested the time sheet for the #43 Morgan (Hall/Costner/Rand) so that’s what you’ll find if you follow this link. This car was auctioned by RM at Amelia Island on March 8, 2003 and this link leads to the catalog description for the car.]

1967 Sebring Worksheets — I’ve tried to do more than I’m able with this section. Call it AitchTeeEmEllitis.

1968 Sebring Hourly Standings — are “under construction.” I don’t have the timers’ hourly standings sheet, so I’m reconstructing it from the individual
time sheets. It’s something of a data challenge, but I’m getting there and may yet lead to further revelations about Excel’s handling of time-formatted data.

The times, drivers and events that occurred become apparent in the numbers, like the Chaparral’s halt in the pits during 1965’s Deluge and the long Corvette Grand Sport stop in 1964 when Roger Penske and crew skulked off into the infield and purloined a halfshaft from a spectator’s Corvette, leaving a note on the windshield to explain why the Corvette wouldn’t drive.

On the following pages are the hourly standings sheets as published in the “Official Records” [which, should anyone wonder, are not copyrighted]
and a very few related pages with individual car’s time sheets. If this information is helpful, please feel free to use it in any way you see fit.

  • I’d like credit, and even a link to this section of my site if possible;

  • If anyone has a specific research project that would benefit from access to a particular car’s (or cars’) time sheet(s), e-mail me and I’ll try to input and post them;

  • I’m looking for other years’ “Official Records” so if anyone knows where to acquire them — free is best, inexpensive is essential — please
    let me know. I’ll post the info on the web so it will be available to everyone, and will return original materials if requested;

  • I’d like to identify the cars by chassis number, so any such information would be appreciated. The chassis number information currently posted comes from and published sources like the “Shelby American World Registry – 1997” and Friedman/Paddock’s “Corvette Grand Sport.”

  • Finally, I’d be happy to offload some of the data entry and would be willing to provide a scan of time sheets and an Excel spreadsheet template if others are willing to challenge their eyesight and carpal tunnels to help disseminate this primary source historic information.

If you have comments, suggestions or questions, please e-mail me at rickcarey @ rickcarey . com [No mailto functions so I can cut down on the despicable spam.]