1970 12 Hours of Sebring

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The 1970 12 Hours of Sebring was an endurance race held at the 5.2 mile (8.3 km) Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Florida, United States on March 21, 1970. It was the twentieth running of the endurance classic and the second round of the 1970 World Sportscar Championship season.[1]

Pre-race[edit]

John Wyer's Gulf-Porsche team had just come fresh off a 1-2 victory at Daytona 7 weeks earlier. So far, Porsche was ahead in the championship against their only real rival, Ferrari. Qualifying was a mix of Ferraris and Porsches: American Mario Andretti qualified the #19 works Ferrari 512S Spyder on pole position at 121 mph at 2:33.5- 5 mph and 6.5 seconds faster than Chris Amon's time the year previous in a works Ferrari 312P and almost a second ahead of the #14 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Gulf-Porsche 917K. Following them were the Porsche/Audi USA sponsored Porsche 917K driven by Vic Elford and Kurt Ahrens, Jr., the #20 works Ferrari 512S Spyder of Jacky Ickx/Peter Schetty, the #15 Gulf-Porsche 917K of Pedro Rodríguez/Leo Kinnunen, and a NART-entered Ferrari 512S Spyder of Sam Posey/Ronnie Bucknum and the #21 works Ferrari 512S of Ignazio Giunti/Nino Vaccarella.

Race[edit]

The 1970 running is considered by many to be the best 12 Hours of Sebring ever. This was the first 12 Hours of Sebring where the cars used a rolling start, a procedure similar to the start which is used at the Indianapolis 500, and has been used at every Sebring 12 Hours to this day. Before 1970, the drivers did a traditional Le Mans start, but the events of the 1969 Le Mans race in which English driver John Woolfe was killed driving his Porsche 917 after a crash in which he did not have his seatbelts fastened led the governing body to ban Le Mans starts on grounds of safety.

A group of 5-liter entries led away; Andretti led from pole position, followed by Siffert, Elford, Ickx, Rodriguez and the rest of the field, which included works Matra and Alfa Romeo prototypes, running in the 3-liter class. There was an accident between two Lolas- Bob Brown in the #26 car would continue, but Mike De Udy in the other Lola would retire after just one lap.

Ickx then moved ahead of Elford into 3rd, behind Siffert and Andretti, the former setting a fastest lap of 2:32.77 in an effort to catch Andretti, and he did for 2 laps- but Andretti regained it then lost it again when he pitted for fuel and a driver change. Other teams stopped for fuel and driver changes, as Andretti switched out with Merzario and Siffert with Redman. The #19's stop dropped it down to 5th, and moments later, Redman brought in the #14 car with electrical trouble. It was a lengthy pitstop, and the car dropped down the order. The order now was the #15 Porsche 917K of Rodriguez/Kinnunen, #16 Porsche 917K of Elford/Ahrens Jr, and the 3 works Ferraris. Near the 3rd hour, Rodriguez brought the leading car into the pits with a puncture. Although they were able to change the punctured tire and send Rodriguez out again, it was 4 laps behind the leading #19 Ferrari. The #16 car crashed and was out of the race with irreparable suspension damage. The Porsche 917K's problems allowed all three works Ferraris led the field into the night. And running in 5th place was a Solar Productions/Gulf sponsored #48 Porsche 908/02 of movie star and racer Steve McQueen (whose leg was in a cast) and Peter Revson, who was battling with the #33 works Alfa Romeo T33/3 of Toine Hezemans/Masten Gregory.

When night fell, the #20 Ickx/Schetty Ferrari went out after 151 laps with a blown head gasket, and the #21 Giunti/Vaccarella car was in the pits being repaired. Although the #19 Andretti/Merzario was still leading, and the #14 Redman/Kinnunen car, which had suffered newly designed front hub failures previously which caused it to drop out of contention, was out after 211 laps due to accident damage (Kinnunen and Siffert had switched cars; Siffert was now driving with Rodriguez). Then, Andretti brought the leading car in with gearbox problems. Although Merzario took the car back out again in the lead, the second-placed #15 Rodriguez/Siffert Porsche 917K was coming back after being 12 laps down for a while they were able to make up most of this deficit after the #19 Ferrari was in the pits. The Solar Productions Porsche 908/02 was in 3rd and the #21 Giunti/Vaccarella car was in 4th. And at 9:46 p.m. The #19 Ferrari was out of the race, which put the Rodriguez/Siffert Porsche 917K in the lead and the McQueen/Revson car was in 2nd.

With 30 minutes remaining, one car still running and desperate for an overall victory, Ferrari team manager Mauro Forghieri decided to replace Giunti with the faster and more experienced Andretti in the #21 car. Although the #21 car was a lap behind; Andretti went out, and pushed very hard; unlapped himself and was making up time quickly on Siffert and Revson. But then all of a sudden, Siffert brought the #15 Gulf-Porsche 917K into the pits with front hub failure, the same problems which had stricken its sister car. This long pitstop allowed the Solar Productions Porsche 908/02 to take 1st- but Andretti had managed to pass Revson and take the lead back. But all of a sudden Andretti brought the car back into the pits for fuel- and the McQueen/Revson Porsche took the lead once again. But Andretti was not about to give up so easily- with only 1 lap to go he stormed out of the pits and chased down Revson, and at the end of the 5.2 mile lap Andretti crossed the line first, with Revson second (who managed to score a 3-liter class win), Masten Gregory in the #33 Alfa was third and the #15 Gulf-Porsche was fourth. Of the 68 cars that started the race, the brutal Sebring circuit managed to whittle the field down to 28 cars.

Official results[edit]

Sebring International Raceway in 1970
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1 S
5.0
21 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Italy Ignazio Giunti
Italy Nino Vaccarella
United States Mario Andretti
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 248
2 P
3.0
48 United States Solar Productions United States Steve McQueen
United States Peter Revson
Porsche 908/02 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 248
3 P
3.0
33 Italy Autodelta SpA Netherlands Toine Hezemans
United States Masten Gregory
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 247
4 S
5.0
15 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Mexico Pedro Rodriguez
Finland Leo Kinnunen
Switzerland Jo Siffert
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L Flat-12 244
5 P
3.0
34 France Equipe Matra-Simca France Henri Pescarolo
France Johnny Servoz-Gavin
Matra-Simca MS650 Matra 3.0L V12 242
6 P
3.0
22 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United Kingdom Mike Parkes
United States Chuck Parsons
Ferrari 312P Coupe Ferrari 3.0L V12 240
7 P
3.0
46 Germany Martini International Germany Gerhard Koch
France Gerard Larrousse
United Kingdom Richard Attwood
Porsche 908/02 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 236
8 P
3.0
31 Italy Autodelta SpA United Kingdom Piers Courage
Italy Andrea de Adamich
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 231
9 P
3.0
32 Italy Autodelta SpA Germany Rolf Stommelen
Italy Nanni Galli
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 230
10 GT
+5.0
1 United States Troy Promotions, Inc. United States Tony DeLorenzo
United States Dick Lang
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 219
11 GT
+5.0
3 United States Bob Johnson United States Bob Johnson
United States Robert R. Johnson
United States Jim Greendyke
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 214
12 P
3.0
35 France Equipe Matra-Simca United States Dan Gurney
France François Cevert
Matra-Simca MS650 Matra 3.0L V12 213
13 GT
2.0
53 United States Brumos Porsche-Audi United States Peter Gregg
United States Pete Harrison
Porsche 911T Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 205
14 T
5.0
40 United States Takondo Racing United States Vince Gimondo
United States Chuck Dietrich
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 5.0L V8 203
15 GT
2.0
52 Canada Jacques Duval Canada Jacques Duval
United States Bob Bailey
Canada George Nicolas
Porsche 911T Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 201
16 T
5.0
39 United States Bob Mitchell United States Bob Mitchell
United States Charlie Kemp
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 5.0L V8 191
17 GT
+5.0
9 United States Mamie Reynolds Gregory United States Bob Grossman
United States Don Yenko
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 7.0L V8 189
18 T
5.0
95 United States Bruce Behrens Racing United States John Tremblay
United States Bill McDill
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 5.0L V8 187
19 P
2.0
73 United States Ring Free Oil Racing United States Janet Guthrie
Republic of Ireland Rosemary Smith
United States Judy Kondratiff
Austin-Healey Sprite BMC 1.3L I4 187
20 GT
+5.0
2 United States Troy-Promotions, Inc. United States Jerry Thompson
United States John Mahler
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 187
21 T
5.0
91 United States Flem-Car Enterprises United States Jim Corwin
United States Donna Mae Mims
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 5.0L V8 184
22 T
5.0
92 United States Preston Hood United States John Elliott
United States Don Gwynne, Jr.
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 5.0L V8 182
23 T
2.0
50 United States Nationwide Food Brokers United States Mike Rahal
United States Hugh Wise
United States Werner Frank
Porsche 906 Porsche 1.9L Flat-6 181
24 T
5.0
37 United States Collins-Wilson Racing United States Vincent P. Collins
United States Larry Wilson
Ford Mustang Ford 4.7L V8 175
25 GT
2.0
57 United States Waldron Motors United States John Belpreche
United States Jim Gammon
United States Ray Mummery
MGB BMC 1.8L I4 175
26 GT
2.0
58 United States Waldron Motors United States Ben Scott
United States Dave Houser
United States Lowell Lanier
MGB BMC 1.8L I4 169
27 T
5.0
18 United States Paul Pettey United States Paul Pettey
United States Roy Hallquist
Ford Mustang Ford 4.7L V8 162
28 T
2.0
80 United States Texas Speed Museum United States Rod Kennedy
United States Mike Tillson
United States Robert Samm
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.3L V4 157
29
NC
P
2.0
54 United States Automobiles of Italy United States Anatoly Artunoff
United States Bill Pryor
Abarth 2000SP Abarth 2.0L I4 166
30
NC
S
3.0
51 United States Porsche-Audi United States Stephen Behr
United States Merv Rosen
Porsche 906 Porsche 1.9L Flat-6 158
31
NC
S
3.0
63 Mexico Carlos Fabre Mexico Carlos Fabre
Mexico Pepe Aguilar
Chevron B8 BMW 1.9L I4
32
NC
S
5.0
26 United States Randy's Auto Body Shop United States Bobby Brown
United States Gregg Young
The Bahamas Robin Ormes
Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet 5.0L V8 114
33
NC
T
2.0
84 United States HCAS United States Walter Brown
United States Joe Marcus
United States Jim R. Sandman
BMW 2002 BMW 2.0L I4 105
DNF P
3.0
47 Finland Racing Team AAW Finland Hans Laine
Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
Porsche 908/02 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 229
DNF S
5.0
19 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC United States Mario Andretti
Italy Arturo Merzario
Ferrari 512S Spyder Ferrari 5.0L V12 227
DNF S
5.0
14 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Switzerland Jo Siffert
United Kingdom Brian Redman
Finland Leo Kinnunen
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L Flat-12 211
DNF GT
+5.0
8 United States Or Costanzo United States Dave Heinz
United States Or Costanzo
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 191
DNF GT
+5.0
4 United States John Greenwood United States John Greenwood
United States Allan Barker
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 159
DNF S
5.0
20 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Belgium Jacky Ickx
Switzerland Peter Schetty
Ferrari 512S Spyder Ferrari 5.0L V12 151
DNF GT
2.0
56 United States British Leyland Motors, Inc. United States Jon Woodner
United States Dan O'Connor
MG Midget BMC 1.3L I4 117
DNF S
5.0
29 United States Auto Enterprises United States Ray Heppenstall
United States Francis C. Grant
Ford GT40 Mk.I Ford 4.9L V8 117
DNF S
5.0
24 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Sam Posey
United States Ronnie Bucknum
United States Bert Everett
Ferrari 512S Spyder Ferrari 5.0L V12 92
DNF GT
2.0
55 United States British Leyland Motors, Inc. United States Merle Brennan
United States Logan Brennan
MG Midget BMC 1.3L I4 84
DNF GT
+2.0
82 United States General Plastics United States Robert Clark
United States Wayne Marsula
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 2.0L V4 78
DNF GT
2.0
77 United States Bruce Jennings United States Bruce Jennings
United States Bob Tullius
Porsche 911T Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 78
DNF GT
2.0
69 United States Harry Theodoracopoulos United States Paul Spruell
United States Wilbur Pickett
Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Alfa Romeo 1.75L I4 75
DNF P
2.0
16 United States Ring Free Oil Racing United States Jim Baker
United Kingdom Clive Baker
Chevron B16 Ford-Cosworth FVC 1.8L I4 70
DNF GT
2.0
77 United States Jennings/Keyser United States Bruce Jennings
United States Bob Tullius
Porsche 911T Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 61
DNF S
5.0
16 United States Porsche-Audi USA United Kingdom Vic Elford
Germany Kurt Ahrens, Jr.
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L Flat-12 61
DNF P
3.0
23 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Tony Adamowicz
United States Luigi Chinetti, Jr.
Ferrari 312P Coupe Ferrari 3.0L V12 56
DNF P
2.0
67 United States Sports Motors United States Jim Bandy
United States Fred Stevenson
Lotus Europa Ford 1.6L I4 48
DNF T
+2.0
38 United States Dave McClain United States Don Kearney
United States Joie Chitwood
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 5.0L V8 47
DNF T
+2.0
41 United States Laurel Racing United States Larry Brock
United States Larry Dent
Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet 5.0L V8 40
DNF P
2.0
62 United Kingdom Chevron Cars Ltd United Kingdom Brian Robinson
United States Hugh Kleinpeter
Chevron B16 Ford-Cosworth FVC 1.8L I4 38
DNF GT
2.0
74 United States Ralph Meaney United States Ralph Meaney
United States Bill Bean
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 36
DNF GT
+5.0
5 United States William A. Schumacher United States Bill Schumacher
United States Bill Petree
Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet 7.0L V8 34
DNF S
5.0
17 United States Porsche-Audi USA Germany Hans Herrmann
Austria Rudi Lins
Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L Flat-12 28
DNF T
2.0
87 United States Robert Whitaker United States Robert Whitaker
United States Harvey Eckoff
United States Jack Slottag
Volvo 122 S Volvo 1.8L I4 25
DNF S
5.0
30 United Kingdom Trevor Graham United Kingdom Piers Forrester
United Kingdom Andrew Hedges
Ford GT40 Mk.I Ford 4.9L V8 22
DNF S
3.0
49 Germany Sepp Greger Canada Sepp Greger
Germany Andreas Schmalbach
Porsche 910 Porsche 1.9L Flat-6 22
DNF T
5.0
14 United States Ray Cuomo Racing United States Ray Cuomo
United States Bernard Gimbel
United States George Lissberg
Ford Mustang Ford 4.7L V8 16
DNF T
2.0
86 United States Sandy's Spares United States Ronald D. Polimeni
United States Robert Theall
Volvo 122 S Volvo 1.8L I4 8
DNF GT
+5.0
7 United States Bruce Morehead Racing United States Bruce Morehead
United States Milo Vega
AMC AMX AMC 6.4L V8 8
DNF GT
2.0
60 United States Herrington Motors United States Robert Kilpatrick
United States Don Goodrich
MGB BMC 1.8L I4 7
DNF P
2.0
59 United States Waldron Motors United States Reggie Smith, Jr.
United States Dean Donley
United States Omar Buttari
MG Midget BMC 1.8L I4 2
DNF T
2.0
79 United States Del Russo Taylor United States Del Russo Taylor
United States Buzz Dyer
United States Hank Sheldon
Alfa Romeo GTV 1750 Alfa Romeo 1.75L I4 2
DNF S
5.0
27 United Kingdom Grand Bahama Racing Team United Kingdom Mike De Udy
United Kingdom Mike Hailwood
Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet 5.0L V8 1
DSQ T
2.0
88 United States Simone Fleming United States Paul Fleming
United States Amos Johnson
United States Bill Bowers
Fiat 124 Fiat 1.4L I4 49
DSQ P
3.0
45 Germany Martini International United Kingdom Richard Attwood
France Gerard Larrousse
Porsche 908/02 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 31

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole position: #19 SpA Ferrari SEFAC Ferrari 512S Spyder (Mario Andretti/Arturo Merzario)- 2:33.5 (121.970 mph/196.254 km/h)
  • Fastest lap: #14 John Wyer Automotive Engineering Porsche 917K (Jo Siffert)- 2:32.77 (122.497 mph/197.102 km/h)
  • Distance: 2075.410 km (1281.117 mph)
  • Average Speed: 172.667 km/h (106.584 mph)
  • Weather conditions: Sunny

References[edit]


World Sportscar Championship
Previous race:
24 Hours of Daytona
1970 season Next race:
1000km of Brands Hatch