1956 Sebring 12 Hours Grand Prix – Race Profile Page Eleven
The dubious distinction of being the first to retire from the race fell to the factory Chevrolet Corvette of Dale Duncan when the axle broke after only three laps. By then the rest of the race cars were strung out along the 5.2 mile course with the some of the small displacement cars beginning to be lapped.
Year after year there was a controversy over whether or not small displacement cars should be allowed at Sebring. Some drivers, like the Aston Martin drivers in 1956, said they should be banned. The closing speeds between the slowest and fastest cars were a safety issue especially at night. The little 750 cc DB might have a top speed of 80 mph while the fastest Ferrari could do 160 mph. The running joke among the drivers was that the faster drivers spent most of the race looking ahead with only a glance behind while the slower drivers spent the race looking behind with only a glance ahead once in a while.
In the end it was money that decided the issue. Limiting the race to the fastest cars might produce a grid with 20 or 30 cars. After twelve hours of racing you might have fewer than ten cars there for the finish. Race fans wouldn’t want to attend a race with so few cars starting and so few finishing. In this case money was talking and talking loudly.