1960 12 Hours of Sebring – Race Profile Page Nine
At the half-way point in the race Moss and Gurney were still leading and averaging 3 mph faster per lap than the second place Daigh/Ginther Ferrari. Hans Herrmann and Oliver Gendebien were now in third with their Porsche RS60 and the Nethercutt/Lovely Ferrari was in fourth spot a full nine laps behind the leader.
The Crawford/Hansgen Maserati was now free of its sand trap and on the way back to the pits but at a much reduced pace. Hitting that sand bank damaged the front wheels and it would take the Camoradi mechanics 45 minutes to get the car going again. In this effort Briggs Cunningham was enlisted to vacuum sand from the damaged car.
After completing 123 laps the Daigh/Ginther Ferrari was retired at 5:23 pm. The car had been smoking badly for some time and when Daigh brought it into the pits for the last time the left side of the car was covered in oil and so was Daigh. It was a sad end to one of the better performances of the day.
Just minutes later Dan Gurney was in the pits for a scheduled pit stop and driver change for the leader. After talking briefly to Moss he went over to talk to some journalists. They asked why the pit stop was taking so long. Gurney indicated that the mechanics were missing a special tool that made changing the brake pads easier and quicker. Gurney also said, …” that there was a noise coming from the rear end.” He added, “I’d be surprised if he (Moss) would make a lap.”
Despite the long pit stop the car returned to the track still in the lead and being piloted by Moss. Not long after the car could be seen coming down the east-west runway rather slowly and then entering pit road. After 136 laps the car was retired at 6:05 pm with rear end trouble. The Porsche of Hans Herrmann and Oliver Gendebien would soon take the lead.
As he exited the car for the last time Moss grabbed the huge pad of foam rubber that allowed the diminutive Moss to see adequately in the low slung Maserati. After entering his pit he was surrounded by reporters. While Gurney was in the car when the trouble struck Moss was quick to deflect any criticism of Gurney’s driving. He told the reporters that it was not Gurney’s fault. “It’s just my bug,” he said ruefully, referring to the bad luck that often dogged him at Sebring.
Just a few feet from Moss and the reporters the flag was being displayed to all cars to turn on their lights as the sun began to set. Sunsets at Sebring can be quit spectacular in March as the sun back lights the cars coming down the front straight with their lights on. However, night time can be particularly scary because large portions of the track are without any illumination and in pitch black darkness. On several occasions, in other 12-hour races, cars were reported to have gotten lost on the huge expanse of concrete runways and taxiways. Some drivers who were new to Sebring were told prior to the start that at night you should try to follow a driver you know who has raced at Sebring before. With darkness the pace slowed to a lap average of 85.899 mph.
It was not only dark on the remote parts of the course but in the pit area the lighting was so minimal that pit crews had difficulty signaling their drivers with signal boards. It took two to three people to do so with one holding the signal board and one or two with flashlights to illuminate the board. One enterprising crew had built a neon lighted sign with which they were able to message their driver. Many of the other crews looked on with envy.
With 3-1/2 hours left in the race the Herrmann/Gendebien Porsche was firmly in the lead with the Holbert/Schechter/Fowler Brumos Porsche in second. There was a scary moment at this time for the Brumos crew as Holbert brought the car in with a bad leak in the cam covered gaskets. A 19-minute pit stop fixed that problem and they were back in the race. Moving up to third was the private entry Maserati of David Causey and Luke W. Stear. The NART Ferrari Dino of the Rodriguez brothers was forced to retire due to clutch troubles while younger brother Ricardo was at the wheel. For over eight hours they had driven a tremendous race in their 2-liter Ferrari.