The inaugural Classic 12 Hour Sebring Pistons and Props took place on December 1-4, 2016 at the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) organized the event, as well as the Sebring Historics sprint races that also ran the same weekend.
The Classic 12 Hour Sebring 2016 was divided into six groups, each one representing a different racing era, From the 1950s and ’60s in Group A through the 21st century in Group E. The Sebring Historic Sprints were grouped by the performance of the race car.
The Classic 12 Hour attracted many interesting cars. Among them were two Lola T70s brought over from Europe, Robert Rawes’ lovely 1963 Aston Martin DP214, five Ford GT40s, including a Mk IV, a McLaren M1B, an Olds Aurora GTS from the IMSA series and two stunning Audi R8 LMPs. Also seen were a Porsche 962, a Toyota 94CV, a Nissan ZX GTP (which unfortunately did not make it to the track) and a Riley and Scott Mk III. A favorite among the fans was the 1961 Sunbeam Alpine Le Mans which won the Index of Efficiency award in the 1961 running of the 24 hours of Le Mans. The Sunbeam was damaged early in an accident, but the crew was able to make repairs, and the car soldiered on to finish.
Among drivers of note were Jochen Mass, Jim Pace, Andy Wallace, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Randy Pobst, Butch Leitzinger, Shane Lewis and Eric Curran.
The endurance classic races by HSR at Daytona and Sebring are as much historical recreations as they are vintage races. Racing at Sebring started in 1950 on what had been the Hendricks Army Airfield used to train bomber crews during World War II. The first 12 Hour race was run in 1952. Grouping the cars by age allowed spectators to see how it was ‘back in the day’. The track at Sebring is not very pretty and it does not look much different than it did 60 years ago. It’s flat, with the only elevation changes being the bumps on the road. It’s challenging to both car and driver. Yet, almost without exception, participants and spectators love coming to it. Just like it has always been.
Classic 12 Hour Sebring 2016 – Photo Gallery
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[Source: David Ferguson]