1963 12 Hours of Sebring – Race Profile Page Thirteen
By the 8th hour Ferrari held the top four spots and in fifth place was the E-type Jaguar of Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen. The Cobras were in and out of the pits for a variety of ailments and only three of the six entered would finish. The #15 Gurney Cobra was finally repaired but Shelby turns the car over to Phil Hill while Hill’s #12 Cobra was given to Ken Miles.
Fans of American sports cars had not lost hope yet because the #2 Black/Lowther Corvette had moved up to sixth position. While in for a regular pit stop a complete change of drivers was ordered and Don Yenko and Dick Thompson took over. Unfortunately they would not be there for the finish having succumbed to a blown head gasket after completing 167 laps.
In the lead during the 8th hour the former Le Mans winning Ferrari 330 LM of Hill and Rodriguez had to pit for exhaust problems plus a malfunctioning tail light was repaired. Already the car had to have a broken tachometer attended to and a flat tire replaced. The exhaust problem was due to a split in the manifold caused by an off road excursion when Rodriguez was driving. It couldn’t be repaired and the drivers had to deal with the choking exhaust fumes for the rest of the race.
Malfunctioning lights were a common problem at Sebring for many of the entrants. Some would start the race with two headlights and two driving lights only to find that when Jesse Coleman gave the signal at 6:30 p.m. to turn on their car’s lights several of them had ceased to function. In most cases it was the brutal pounding the cars took for over eight hours on the notoriously rough Sebring course. Some were black flagged for not having the minimum number of operating lights and had to make unscheduled stops for repairs.
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