Sebring Classic 12 Hour
Piston & Props Meeting

Keith Bluemel Words by Keith Bluemel

30th Nov.- 4th Dec., 2016 – The success of the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona in 2014 and 2015, provided the inspiration behind running a similar event based on the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring, the oldest major international sports car race in the USA. The Florida airfield circuit also has strong civil and military history, so it was only natural that historic aircraft should also form part of the event, organised by Historic Sportscar Racing Ltd. From the time that the track opened its gates on the Wednesday morning, actually it was also open on the Tuesday for a private practice session, until the end of racing on the Sunday there was almost constant track activity. Besides the 12 hour entrants, there were a number of historic races for the HSRs regular race series groups, which embrace a wide, almost bewildering, number of classes and types of cars.

Group A winner, the Gerard Lopez/Frantz Wallenborn Lola T70 Mk IIIB

The meeting attracted a number of well known motor racing figures, both old and young, including the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jochen Mass, Andy Wallace, Butch Leitzinger, Frank Stippler, Ollie Bryant, Chris Dyson, Randy Pobst and recently crowned IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Prototype Co-Champion Eric Curran. The range of machinery participating was even more diverse than the driver line-up, although perhaps not with such a large spread of ages! The entry ranged from a miniscule 1965 Ginetta G4R in Group A, through a wide variety of Porsche 911 variants of all ages, a rarity like the 1975 March 75S sports racing car, a 1986 Porsche 962, to a 2007 Pescarolo 01 sports prototype, a pair of Audi R8 LMPs and a pair of Corvette DPs, a truly eclectic mix. There was even what appeared to be a fairly stock 2007 Ford Focus running!

The Pescarolo 01 LMP of David Porter and Richard Bradley that took Group E

The Classic 12 Hour races followed the format established at the Le Mans Classic and also used at the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona, with day and night races for all groups, which are divided by age and type. For the Sebring Classic there were six divisions, made up as follows:- Group A – 1952 – 1972, Group B – 1973 – 1982, Group C – 1983 – 1993, Group D – 1994 – 2002, Group E – 2003 – 2012, and Group F – HSR Cars. The latter group is home to HSR classes that are not represented in the other five groups, and also allows competitors with race cars that were never eligible to compete at Sebring a chance to run on the legendary circuit. As mentioned, there were also a number of other races on the programme, so there were a tremendous variety of cars spanning some 60 years for enthusiasts to enjoy, even including some classic NASCAR offerings, which exhibited some alarming body roll through the turns.

The winner of Group F - Porsche 911 RSR of H Von Seelen/J Ziegelman/K Wheeler

The overall winners in the different groups were:-

Group A – # 10, Gerard Lopez/Frantz Wallenborn – Lola T70 Mk IIIB

Group B – # 94, John Harrold – Chevron B23/36

Group C – # 17, Alan Benjamin/Robert Ames – Porsche 964 Cup

Group D – # 4, Rick Carlino/Derek Jones – Riley & Scott Mk III

Group E – # 18, David Porter/Richard Bradley – Pescarolo 01 LMP

Group F – # 51, H Von Seelen/J Ziegelman/K Wheeler – Porsche 911 RSR

Taking the honours in Group C was this Porsche 964 Cup driven by Alan Benjamin and Robert Ames