Phil Hill had made a cautious start. He and Peter Collins had had a long discussion before the race and had decided to be easy on the gearbox and the brakes which get worked so hard at Sebring. Chassis 0704 sat in 4th at the end of hour one, with Moss/Brooks leading Salvadori/Shelby and Hawthorn/von Trips. The easy pace allowed the private 250TR of Richie Ginther and Johnny von Neumann into 4th an hour later. The two Astons and the three Ferraris held the top five spots for the first four hours. The other cars in contention were the Porsche RS of Jean Behra and Edgar Barth, the Musso/Gendebien Ferrari as it started to recover from its early encounter, the Fitch/Martin Ferrari and the Harry Schell/Wolfgang Seidel Porsche.
But it all changed in the 5th hour as the two Astons both had the gearbox problems which stopped them. Hill and Collins had moved progressively up to second and now took over the lead from which they would not be moved. An hour later there were four Ferraris in the first four places. That remained unaltered for the next five hours. Hawthorn and von Trips were out at 159 laps and Neumann/Ginther at 168 laps. As Phil Hill and Peter Collins kept to a steady pace, the Musso/Gendebien car took over 2nd with the Schell/Seidel Porsche 3rd. The Porsches had not had their usual reliability. Surprisingly the little Lotus cars did, and the Sam Weiss/Dave Tallakson Lotus 11 had got into 4th overall. Paul O’Shea and Bruce Kessler had a Ferrari GT in 5th, and Lotus boss Colin Chapman himself was in 6th with another Lotus 11 co-driven by the great Cliff Allison.
The only change in the top ten order in the last two hours occurred when the ninth place OSCA of the De Tomasos moved ahead of the Chamberlain/Frost Lotus 11. It was a mighty performance by the OSCA.
And that is how it finished. The Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa had come of age. Phil Hill and Peter Collins had established the car as main sports car championship contender. That car of course became a sports car legend, such was the combination of its classic good looks, fine handling and strong endurance characteristics. It is fortunate we can still see those cars in historic racing today.
[Source: Ed McDonough]