In a strategy that Carroll Shelby would use in future races at both Sebring and Daytona one of the team Cobras was selected as the “rabbit” to entice the hounds to give chase and hopefully suffer mechanical failure. At Sebring in 1963 this assignment was given to the team of Dave MacDonald and “Fireball” Roberts. However, by the second hour their car was “kaput” but the Ferraris showed little sign of any major problems.
In their attempt to lead the GT class the Cobras of Dan Gurney and Phil Hill were setting a fast pace. Hill was supposed to be Gurney’s co-driver but was drafted as a relief driver for the Miles-Spencer Cobra. Gurney, by choice, would drive for almost six hours straight but his car would be plagued with mechanical problems that would force him to revisit the pits thus dropping him further back in the pack.
In the early goings of the race John Christy, writing in the June 1963 issue of Sports Car Graphic, was very impressed by the performance of the two factory 2-liter Porsche Abarth 356B Carrera GTLs. In the #43 car were German drivers Edgar Barth and Herbert Linge. The #44 car was driven by Americans Don Wester and Bob Holbert. Both Americans were accomplished Porsche drivers as well as owning Porsche dealerships.
According to Mr. Christy:
“They (the factory Porsches) seemed tied together by an invisible rope. Lap after lap, hour after hour they ran around the course about 20 feet apart. Speculation had it that Team Manager Huschke von Hanstein was perched atop the tall water tower with a rifle to keep his drivers from dicing.”
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