Late Night Prep at ’65 Sebring

BARCboys‘ photo archives never fail to turn up a unique angle on the races they travelled to. Dave Nicholas’ shots from the 1965 Sebring Endurance Race are no exception. The race was a wet one and the sparse accommodations for spectators at the race makes me wonder if a greater percentage of competitors or spectators made it to the end of the race. Thankfully, Dave stuck it out to document the race.

What interests me just as much, though, are these images that Dave managed to capture of the Mecom team making some final preparations on Friday night—and look like they could well have been included in our factories at work series. I always enjoy seeing the pit facilities from years past and while Sebring may be an extreme example owing to its reputation as a “primitive racetrack”, the team garages at LeMans or Monaco were little better.

Seeing this Hansgen/Donohue Ferrari 250LM and Cannon/Saunders Lola T70 wedged in here between the tractor and the steel tubing, though, really illustrates the shocking range of difference in amenities between contemporary racing facilities and those of 40 or 50 years ago. This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about when I talk about the kinship that vintage racing teams had with Hot Rod garages. They were damn near the same thing.

Walt Hansgen and Mark Donohue’s Ferrari 250 LM finished 11th overall (4th in class). John Cannon and Jack Saunders qualified in 6th, and were fast runners in the opening laps of the race, but dropped out with a failed oil cooler after 55 laps.

More of Dave Nicholas’ photos on BARC Boys’ 1965 Sebring Gallery. Sports Car Digest did a lovely profile of the race that’s well worth a read.

Sebring 1960 With the BARC Boys

Available in the UK: Ferrari 296S “Dino”

Ferrari 296SThat’s right friends. 296.

I know when we see “Dino”, we automatically think of the simply stunning 60s-70s mid-engined, Pininfarina designed, Dino 246, and with good reason; the 246 is an absolute masterpiece of automotive design. This Dino, however, is a bit earlier and every bit as beautiful. The 1959 296S Dino (chassis # 0746) has a fascinating history of her own to be proud of.

She debuted at the 1958 Silverstone race with racing’s best dressed driver Mike Hawthorn at the wheel pushing her hard to a 3rd place finish. Some sources, however, claim 0746 actually had an earlier race at the hands of Wolfgang Von Trips; finishing 3rd at the January, 1958 Nurburgring 1000km. In either event, the Scuderia quickly sold 0746 to retired racing driver, N.A.R.T. founder, and America’s first Ferrari distributor, Luigi Chinetti. Luigi soon had a handful of North American talent driving talent throughout the US and beyond. The car’s primary drivers in this era were Mexican phenoms the Rodriguez brothers, who had early success with 0746 in Nassau (1st and 2nd in various races that weekend) and Sebring (3rd).

Sebring 296SPedro Rodriguez, of course, went on to major international success as a Formula 1 driver for the Scuderia, Lotus, and BRM in various seasons from 1963-1971. He also won the LeMans 24 Hours race in 1968 with co-driver Lucien Bianchi in a Mk. I Ford GT-40. His brother, Ricardo, had his promising career tragically cut short in a fatal crash in 1962 during a practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix. Ricardo’s potential was staggering, barred by the LeMans officials from driving in 1958 because he was too young, Ricardo returned in ’59 to claim 2nd in an OSCA with co-driver André Pilette. A string of Formula 1 races for Ferrari followed, making Ricardo the youngest-ever Formula 1 driver at the time. He also claimed outright victory in a Ferrari Testa Rossa in the 1962 Targa Florio. With such an amazing string of successes, it’s all the sadder to think of the amazing career he might have had.

Following Luigi Chinetti’s stewardship of 0746, The car went on to further successes with American driver, George Constantine, who had top-five finishes with the car in three 1961 SCCA National races and won the 1961 Grand Prix Watkins Glen.

Today, UK dealer Duncan Hamilton offers Ferrari 296S #0746 in fantastic condition in her Rossa Corso N.A.R.T. livery. She’s a sight to behold. Included with the car are two of the underrated Ferrari V6s and wrapped in disc brakes all around. Sure, Ferrari means V12 to most, but I have an affinity for the early 6 and 8 bangers. She’s an absolute beauty and I hope to see her slicing around Goodwood or the Monterrey Historics soon.