Forty years ago, Sebring set the stage for some highly competitive racing among Cobras, Ferraris, and Corvettes. Difficult weather and trying mechanical situations added a challenging dimension to an exciting event. In light of recent C5-R successes and the impending start of yet another season of American Le Mans Series competition, a look back at the effort put forth by the privateer Corvette camp lends amazing perspective.
Dave Friedman's book, Corvette Thunder, 50 Years of Corvette Racing 1953-2003, offers a glimpse of this effort and some cool photos of the legendary Corvette Grand Sports. In the second season for the Grand Sport machines, they were often challenged by Ferrari and Cobra competition. But the images of the Corvette nameplate traveling at high speed over the Florida tarmac are indelible and helped attach a performance image to the marque.
View From The TowerBill Tower was present at the '65 12 Hours of Sebring and is the current owner of the former Roger Penske-driven Grand Sport. Tower notes, "That was a terribly wet Sebring race, and I remember it well. The cars were completely flooded in places with water coming in the doors because there was no weatherstripping to seal out the elements. As noted, some cones were completely gone, making it hard to figure out where you were. The Grand Sport I own was modified to deal with the flooding. A number of switches, originally mounted on the console, were moved to the dashboard to keep them out of the water. I've left them there to remember that fateful race in the rain."