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SEBRING: The 12 Best 12 Hour Racecars

A look at the 12 best race cars from Sebring…

Photo: Sebring International Raceway

Photo: Sebring International Raceway

Last week we ranked the 12 best Sebring 12-hour races ever. This week we’ll rank the 12 best Sebring racecars.

Remember, we are talking just about Sebring results, and we are not talking about the most “popular” cars. That honor would likely go to the Shelby Cobra, Chaparral, Porsche 917, Group 44 Jaguar GTP or Panoz LMP-1.

To earn a spot on this list you need multiple wins, reliability and longevity. Cars that raced for class wins and not overall victory often do not get enough credit, so we considered cars from all classes. Here’s the 12 best racecars at Sebring:

Porsche 935
The most dominant car in Sebring history. Six Sebring wins and an incredible record of reliability make the 935 number one on my list (seven straight wins if you include the 1983-winning 934). In all of its various configurations, the 935 produced incredible results worldwide.

Porsche 962
Picking up where the 935 left off, the 962 was the dominant car during the first half of the GTP era, winning Sebring four straight years.

Ferrari 250TR
From its winning debut at Sebring in 1958, it was among the most beautiful cars ever to race at Sebring, and without question now the most valuable! The 250TR won Sebring overall four times. 

Audi R8
A debut win in 2000 set the stage for an incredible six straight wins at America’s toughest endurance race, boasting a remarkable record of reliability. While you could argue they lacked stiff competition some of those years, Audi has never shied away from competition or innovation (the diesel R10 certainly deserves mention).

Chevrolet Corvette
A total of 22 class wins in Sebring history (second only to Porsche and Ferrari) makes the Corvette one of the greatest Sebring racecars ever. And I vote for the current Corvette Racing as one of he greatest teams ever as well.

Ford GT 40
Winning at Sebring, Le Mans and Daytona several times in the 1960s, the Ford GT program was remarkably successful and gave fans of American muscle something to cheer about.

Porsche 911
The various versions of the iconic Porsche 911 have accounted for dozens of wins at Sebring (and everywhere else, for that matter). Ultra-reliable, it still remains perhaps the most dominant and versatile racecar ever produced.

Mazda RX-7
The rotary-powered RX-7 won nine class titles at Sebring and shattered many ear drums on the way to dominating the GT class racing at Sebring in the 1980s

Ferrari 333SP
Winning at Sebring three times in four years, the last Ferrari to race in the top level of endurance racing was the most dominant car of the WSC era (although props must be given to the Riley & Scott Mk3).

Nissan GTP
Nissan became the first Japanese manufacturer to win overall at a major endurance (Sebring 1989). They dominated the 12 Hours for three straight years. The success of the 300ZXT was equally impressive in the early 1990s, producing an overall win in 1994.

Porsche RSK
Before Porsche started challenging for overall wins, the various versions of the Porsche RS Spyder of the late 1950s dominated the GT classes, culminating with an overall win at Sebring in 1960.

OSCA
Most current race fans are unfamiliar with this little Italian manufacturer (Officine Specializzate Construzione Automobili), but it won class eight times at Sebring, usually dominating the Index of performance category, and scored a stunning overall win in 1954.

I’m sure I have left off many deserving candidates! It’s hard to ignore the importance of British manufacturers during the early days of Sebring, including MG, Austin-Healey, Jaguar and Triumph. BMW Alfa Romeo fans may also have some opinions.

Next week: The 12 Greatest Sebring 12 Hour Drivers.

Ken Breslauer is the communications director and track historian at Sebring International Raceway. He is the author of the book "Sebring: The Official History of America's Great Sports Car Race."

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