Racing drivers Hans Herrmann, Geoff Brabham, Denise McCluggage, Johnny O’Connell and Jim Downing were inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame on 16 March 2012, the day prior to the 60th Anniversary Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Hans Herrmann is a two-time Sebring winner in addition to his Le Mans victory in 1970. His first Sebring win in 1960 was also the first for Porsche as he co-drove an RS60 to victory with Olivier Gendebien. Herrmann returned to victory lane in 1968 when he drove a Porsche 907 to victory with Jo Siffert. Herrmann also won his class at Sebring in 1956 and 1966.
Geoff Brabham is a two-time Sebring winner, driving for Nissan. He co-drove with Chip Robinson and Arie Luyendyk in 1989 to give Nissan its first major endurance win. He won Sebring again in 1991 driving with Derek Daly and brother Gary Brabham. He also finished second twice, recorded two fastest race laps and two pole positions. His career also includes a win at Le Mans in 1993 driving for Peugeot.
Denise McCluggage is a pioneer in motorsports and sports journalism. As one of the first female drivers, she found success in many international events, winning class as the top Gran Turismo entry at Sebring 1961 driving a Ferrari 250GT with jazz musician Allen Eager, and finishing second in class in 1967. Her career as a writer spans six decades and has resulted in numerous honors, including the Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism.
Johnny O’Connell is Sebring’s all-time winner with seven class wins and an overall victory in 1994. He holds the Sebring record for class podium finishes with 12. His string of 20 consecutive starts is also a Sebring record. While his early victories came driving for Nissan, he is best known for his success while driving for Corvette. He has four class wins at Le Mans.
Jim Downing has competed in 20 Sebring 12-hour races, tied with O’Connell in second for the most starts in Sebring history. He is also second on Sebring’s all-time class podium list. Driving primarily Mazda entries, Downing won five IMSA championships and has three class wins at Sebring. Racing his Kudzu chassis, Downing finished third overall in 1994. Downing has also contributed to the safety of motor racing by helping to create the HANS device with Dr. Robert Hubbard.
The Sebring Hall of Fame was established in 2002 at Sebring’s 50th Anniversary. The non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving Sebring’s history. For more information, visit www.sebringraceway.com.
[Source: Sebring Raceway; photo credit: Porsche AG]