1960 12 Hours of Sebring – Race Profile Page Eight
On lap 34 the McCluggage/Rollo Osca retired with bearing failure. Not long after (lap 54) an Austin-Healey driven by John Colgate and Fred Spross flipped at the end of the front straight followed soon after by the flip of the Lotus Elite of Frank Bott. Ever the stalwart competitor Bott proceeded to right his overturned car and then drove it very slowly back to the pits. Entering pit road many were amazed to see a car minus the driver’s side door, rear window and front windshield. His pit crew took one look at the car and threw in the towel. The car was retired after 57 laps. At that point Moss was still in the lead but his lap average had slowed slightly to 90.852 mph. If Moss and Gurney had maintained that average they would have beaten the record set by the Phil Hill, Peter Collins Ferrari in 1958.
In addition to providing tires, gas, and oil for their cars some of the pit crews were tasked with cutting holes in the larger than normal, but FIA approved, wind screens. It seems that the large Perspex surface areas were quickly covered by Florida bug guts, oil and grit from the track to the point where they were almost opaque. Viewing ports had to be cut so the drivers could see where they were going on the track. Despite some concern expressed by pit stewards nothing was done to stop this activity. As far as the crews were concerned it was a safety issue.
Between one and three in the afternoon the Moss/Gurney car held the lead but was beginning to slow slightly. They were now averaging 90.852 mph and no doubt the afternoon heat was taking its toll on all concerned. The 3-pm standings included twelve cars that had been officially retired with the usual handful in the pits for repairs for a variety of ailments. Some would return to the track and others not.
Of those going behind pit wall were two Corvettes, the 250 G.T. Ferrari of Carlo Abate and Gianni Balzarini, a Sprite, a Maserati, a Morgan, an MGA, two Porsches, an Alfa, Lotus Elite and an Osca. Most of these retirements were related to engine problems but four cars retired due to accidents. One of those accidents resulted in the loss of two lives and it was obvious that the notoriously rough Sebring airport course was living up to its reputation. As the standing were eventually updated by the now functioning IBM computer five more cars were added to the withdrawal list. They included an AC Bristol, a Bandini-Fiat, an Austin-Healey 3000, another Alfa and a Lotus.
Being worked on in the pits at this hour was the NART Ferrari Dino of the Rodriguez brothers. The mechanics were furiously trying to replace a broken universal joint which took 30 minutes. Prior to that problem the brothers were running very respectable 3 min., 20 sec. laps.
Just down from the Rodriguez brothers pit was the Jo Bonnier, Graham Hill pit and the mechanics were craning their necks to see what has happened to their long overdue car. At that moment Hill’s Porsche 718 RS60 was parked near the Webster turns with a rod through the engine block. They were officially withdrawn after 87 laps.
Coasting to a stop in the pits was the second-place Daigh/Ginther Ferrari. It was obvious from the steam pouring from under the engine bay hood that an overheating problem had to be addressed. While doing just that the Ferrari mechanics gave the car four new tires and tended to several other minor repairs.
At 4:05 pm the infamous hairpin turn claimed another victim in the form of the third place Crawford/Hansgen Maserati Tipo. The car went a little too wide in the turn and got well and truly stuck in the sandbank at that turn. Driver Ed Crawford didn’t have a shovel in the car and proceeded to dig himself out by hand. This was very dangerous work because other cars were passing by just a few feet from the digging driver who at times could be seen on his hands and knees with his butt high in the air. It would be almost two hours before the car would return to the track.