Ranking the best Sebring 12-hour races is no easy task. There have been 67 of them, and all have had a good measure of drama (sometimes both on and off the track).
Some years have seen better entries and more historical significance than others, but all have written a worthy chapter in the history of America‘s oldest endurance classic.
Narrowing the list down to the top five is very difficult.
Each race must be put in the historical context of that era, and not necessarily compared with races from other eras.
For example, the 1973 Sebring 12-hour, the first sanctioned by IMSA, was for many years considered a big disappointment as it was the first race of the post FIA World Championship era.
But in retrospect, the all GT race showcased a new era of drivers and teams that would become a staple of road racing in North America for the next three decades.
The Top Five:
1970: This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest endurance races ever. It was a race that could have been one of the most boring ever as Mario Andretti and Arturo Merzario built an incredible 13-lap (67.6 miles) lead, only to have their Ferrari 512S drop out with mechanical problems.
From that point on it was a thrilling race with several cars fighting for the lead. The car that nearly won was a Porsche 908 driven by actor Steve McQueen along with Peter Revson (who did most of the driving).
With an hour remaining, Andretti was put in the remaining factory Ferrari that had been driven by Nino Vaccarella and Ignazio Giunti.
Andretti was sent out to overtake the McQueen/Revson Porsche. He did that, only to make an unscheduled fuel stop in the final minutes, allowing the Porsche to close the gap. In the end, Andretti finished with a 23.8 second margin of victory.
McQueen and Revson had to settle for a class win, but for Andretti, the second of his three Sebring wins featured one of the greatest stints in endurance racing history.
1966: The tragic aspects of this year are remembered more than what many historians consider the best sports car race ever- with an ending only a Hollywood script writer could dream up.
Visit SportsCar365.com for the rest of Ken Breslauer’s top five Sebring races.