Presented by Gulf Oil, 12 HOURS OF SEBRING presents the Florida International Grand Prix of Endurance. It was produced by Nathan Zucker and shows the 1963 race. In the field you'll see the Ferrari 250P, 330 TRI/LM, 250 GTO, Jaguar E-type, Chevrolet Corvette, Shelby Cobra, Chaparral 1 Corvette, Triumph TR4, Morgan Plus 4, Osca 1600 GT, Alfa Romeo, Abarth-Simca, Porsche, Lotus TVR and Austin MG. The film also shows women participating in the sport, including as pit crew and as drivers. A full list of race results can be seen at: http://www.racingsportscars.com/resul...
For the international members of the automotive press in attendance that year the race held little significance other than it would be the first race run under FIA’s new Manufacturer’s Championship rules. For American sports car fans making the annual trek to Sebring the significance of the ’63 race was that there would be a large contingent of American cars at Sebring to challenge the supremacy of the European cars. Fans of American sports car racing were hoping that this could be “their year.” Some automotive historians designate 1963 as the first year of what many today refer to as The Ford – Ferrari War which lasted from 1963 to 1967. With six Ford-powered Cobras on the grid, including four from Shelby’s stables and one from Ford’s performance specialist, Holman Moody, this race certainly seemed like an opening salvo!
The 12 Hours of Sebring is an annual motorsport endurance race for sports cars held at Sebring International Raceway, on the site of the former Hendricks Army Airfield World War II air base in Sebring, Florida. The event is the second round of the United SportsCar Championship and in the past has been a round of the now defunct World Sportscar Championship, IMSA GT Championship and American Le Mans Series. In 2012, the race was the opening event of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The track opened in 1950 on an airfield and is a road racing course styled after those used in European Grand Prix motor racing. The first race was a six-hour race on New Year's Eve 1950, with the next race held 14 months later as the first 12 Hours of Sebring. The race is famous for its "once around the clock" action, starting during the day and finishing at night. From 1953 to 1972 the 12 Hour was a round of the FIA’s premier sports car series which was contested under various names including the World Sportscar Championship and the International Championship for Makes.
In its early years, the Sebring circuit combined former airport runways with narrow two-lane service roads. The 1966 event was a turning point in Sebring history, as the facilities and the safety of the circuit were heavily criticized. Five people were killed during the race, which was more people killed than in the race's prior 15-year history combined. Bob McLean crashed while approaching the hairpin; his car rolled several times, struck a utility pole and then exploded, landing in a ditch and killing McLean.
In another incident Mario Andretti in his Ferrari 365 P2 tangled with Don Wester's Porsche 906 on the Warehouse Straight near the Webster Turns, killing four spectators and then crashing into a warehouse next to the track. Subsequent to these events, the facilities were upgraded and the circuit layout was changed, including eliminating the Webster Turns and creating the Green Park Chicane further down the track to move the straight further away from the airport warehouses. The circuit was made safer and there were no fatalities until 1980.
It is known as preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the track's extremely bumpy surface, combined with south-central Florida's perennial hot weather, is a test of a car's reliability. In recent years, six overall victories have been achieved by the Audi R8, one fewer than the record seven wins of the Porsche 935.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com