1963 12 Hours of Sebring – Race Profile Page Twelve
At the half-way point (6-hours) the Ferraris were in a commanding position with the Ferrari prototypes of G. Hill/Rodriguez in first, the Surtees/Scarfiotti Ferrari in second and the Mairesse/Vaccarella Ferrari third. In fourth was the Penske/Pabst Ferrari 250 GTO and the Gurney Cobra in fifth spot. Observers on the course heard Gurney having shifting problems and assumed he was having gearbox troubles. Later Gurney would hit a curb on the course and shear a rack-and-pinion support and spend almost two hours in the pits for repairs. He was running second in his class at the time and his car would eventually end up finishing 29th overall and 5th in class. Some felt that trying to go it alone in a car as demanding as the Cobra exhausted him and he might have made a mistake that cost him a class win.
With the sun heading down for a beautiful Sebring sunset the casualty list would reach its daytime peak of 25 retirements. Only one official retirement would occur after sundown and that was the #4 Sting Ray of Roy Kumnick and Ralph Salyer which blew an engine after completing 120 laps and 11 hours of racing. Those early hours of the race were Darwinism in action with the best prepared and driven cars surviving and the worst prepared or those with defective parts, like the MGB’s, dying an early but ignominious death. Of course there were always the few “hot shoes” that, trying to be the next Fangio, Hill or Gurney, would push their car too hard, too early.
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