Now this is the kind of vintage racing footage we love. Made by Gulf Oil, this cool film featuring the 1963 12 hours of Sebring has all the elements that every BangShifter could ever want. For starters you have all kinds of cool cars running around and not just on the track. The opening part of the film shows the little town of Sebring being invaded by every type of early 1960s sports car imaginable. Moving to the track we see the cars being unloaded, parked in the hangers, going through tech, and looking like the freaking art work that they are. By the time the racing starts we don’t get a load of canned junk footage. Instead we get interesting angles and glimpses into the event. The stuff we get to see in the pits at night with guys like Carroll Shelby pacing and barking orders while his mechanics thrash is awesome.
The 1963 race was a good one. Outside of the fact that there was a load of talent and killer cars, there were some big rivalries forming up. The Ferraris which had dominated the world of sports car racing showed up with force, Ford was in the midst of firing up their vaunted Total Performance era where the goal was to dominate not just Ferrari but every damned company on Earth. The Gran Sport Corvettes were there to battle the Cobras, and the biggest winners were the fans who were rooting for the cars as much as they were rooting for the drivers.
The race finished like so many others did back then. The first six positions overall were dominated by Ferrari. The Jags filled the next couple and the Porsches behind them. On the domestic front the Shelby team beat the Corvettes in the GT 4.0+ liter class. They had about 10 laps on the best finishing Corvette. Roughly the same number of Cobras and Corvettes finished the race. As the 1960s would advance the Shelby Cobra would morph into the Daytona coupe and then ultimately the GT40 would become the ultimate symbol of American engineering prowess on the road courses of the world. This 1963 race was part of the strife that set the stage for what many people consider the best decade that the world of sports car racing ever produced.