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"Triumph & Tragedy" (Todesunfall beim Sebring 12 Stunden Rennen 1966)

"Triumph & Tragedy" (Todesunfall beim Sebring 12 Stunden Rennen 1966)

KoolGirlieStuff Photography Tom Eitnier


"Triumph & Tragedy" (Todesunfall beim Sebring 12 Stunden Rennen 1966)

(Facsimile LIFE Magazine Cover)
in a tribute to the 5 people
(1 Driver and 4 Spectators)
who died during the 12 Hours Of Sebring Races in 1966
Model:Ford GT40 Mk II 427ci racing coupe *Photographed during the 2006 HSR Sping Historics at Sebring International Raceway*
Camera:Sony CD 500

Here`s a brief summary of the race that was one of the most historic and most tragic in the history of Sebring International Raceway

*A Short History About the 1966 12 Hours Of Sebring*

In one of the greatest finishes in sportscar endurance racing history, the 1966 12 Hours Of Sebring is remembered for Dan Gurney's heart-breaking last lap, when his Ford GT40 stopped just 300 yards from the finish line with a blown engine
Gurney got out of the car and started pushing it down the front straight, he was passed in the final minute by his Shelby American/Ford teammates Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby also in a Ford GT40
(Gurney was later disqualified for pushing his car)

It was the first overall victory by Ford at Sebring

But, sadly the 1966 race is also remembered by tragedy, violent crashes and 5 deaths

Mario Andretti`s Ferrari 365P2 having gearbox problems during a downshift spun out directly in front of Don Wester`s 906 Carrera 6 Porsche, Wester with no place to go, collided with the spinning Ferrari, the out of control Porsche left the course hitting four spectators
(A man, his two sons and a famous female spectator where among those killed)

Earlier in the race the Champion Canadian driver Bob McLean driving a privately entered Ford GT40 was involved in a horrible accident
Shortly after a driver change and pitstop the GT40 lost a wheel approaching the hairpin at high speed and went out of control, flipped over three times, hit a utility pole, exploded and burned
The Sebring racetrack fire/emergency rescue team were unable to get to him due to the intense heat of the magnesium and racing fuel fire and trapped in the twisted wreckage Bob McLean burned to death

The 1966 race ended with it being a memorable history making race unfortunately marred by the deaths of 5 people leaving a uncertain future of the track, but after much debate the track was left "open" and throughout the years it has had improved safety measures added which has kept the track relatively safe ever since

Here in memory are the names of the 5 people who died at Sebring on March 26th 1966

Mrs. Patricia Heacock - spectator
(*Mother of famous Florida businessman and vintage car enthusiast Ford Heacock III*)
Willis Edenfield, Sr- spectator
Willis Edenfield, Jr- spectator
Mark Edenfield - spectator
Bob McLean - driver for Comstock Racing/Canada in Ford GT40 P1000 number 18

May they all Rest In Peace

*Historicans note*

Very ironically in the colourful and exciting 1960`s history of the Ford GT40 an important car such as this one was would meet such a horrific fate along with it`s driver, Bob McLean`s GT40 (P1000) was the FIRST production racing GT40 ever made

This car was lost forever that day, burnt to ash, cinders and pools of aluminum and magnesium in the deep corner of the Hairpin at Sebring

Kommentare 5

  • Chris Pietsch 19. März 2006, 20:11

    Thanks for the link Tom!!!
  • KoolGirlieStuff Photography Tom Eitnier 18. März 2006, 19:46


    Yes U need to come here for the 12 hours
    It`s ONLINE now LIVE so go listen here



  • Chris Pietsch 18. März 2006, 10:28

    Sebring is something I mist when I visited Florida.
    I went a couple of times to Daytona, mostly classic bike racing. But next time, when ever that will be, I'll go to Sebring.
    This year I want to go to Nuerburgring and Le Mans.
    And maybe I have a chance to race at Bol d'or classic. But that is a big maybe :)
  • KoolGirlieStuff Photography Tom Eitnier 17. März 2006, 20:54

    Hello Chris and thanks 4 stopping by

    Yes, the "Glory" days, the Ford/Ferrari wars of 1966 to 69 are times that will never be forgotten, times of great glory and excitement in racing and also a time that was very dangerous, going into the early 1970`s, the cars got faster and the tracks didn`t improve until people got killed, a sad way to open people`s eyes about technology, but that was what happened

    And "our" track here in Florida -Sebring- is now the OLDEST and most original sportscar racetrack left in America .... I LOVE SEBRING!

    I go to the HSR Historics here twice a year and it`s the BEST two weeks of the entire year!
  • Chris Pietsch 17. März 2006, 20:48

    Racing was different in the "glory" old days. Most people forget.

    Nice photo - love it.