Sebring announces 2008 HOF inductees
Sebring International Raceway has announced the 2008 inductees into the Sebring Sports Car Racing Hall of Fame. American Le Mans Series team owner Roger Penske, Derek Bell, Hans Stuck, David Cowart and Audi will join the prestigious Hall of Fame during ceremonies on Friday, March 14, the day before the 56th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida.
Penske, who campaigns two Porsche RS Spyders in the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class, has a stellar record of success in motorsports as a driver, team manager, team owner and race promoter. Best known for orchestrating more than a dozen wins at the Indianapolis 500, Penske began his career in sports car racing in 1958. At Sebring he had three class victories, then served as manager for Jim Hall’s 1965-winning Chaparral team. Penske’s team won the Trans-Am class and finished third overall at the 1968 12 Hours of Sebring. Penske Racing has claimed the last two class championships with the RS Spyder.
Audi becomes only the third manufacturer to be inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame. Since the world debut of the Audi R8 in 2000, Audi has won every Sebring 12-hour classic, taking the pole position all eight years and setting the fastest race lap seven times. In 2006 Audi made automotive history by becoming the first manufacturer to win a major endurance race with a diesel-powered car. Audi also has won Le Mans seven of the past eight years including the last two with the R10 TDI prototype.
Legendary sports car racing driver Derek Bell has five Le Mans victories and two Sportscar World Championships to his credit. He is probably the most successful driver at Sebring who never won the 12 hour classic, recording six podium finishes, including second place four times in 15 career starts.
Hans Stuck is a three-time Sebring winner, driving for BMW in 1975 and then taking two wins driving a Porsche 962 in 1986 and 1988. His victory in 1986 with Bob Akin and Jo Gartner remains the fastest 12 hours ever. Stuck also has two class victories at Sebring driving for Porsche. He won back-to-back Le Mans races in 1986 and 1987.
David Cowart achieved success both on and off track at Sebring. As a competitor he won the IMSA GTO championship, and competed in the Sebring 12-hour 11 times. However, his greatest contribution at Sebring came as a race official and co-promoter with Charles Mendez from 1978-82, helping maintain the Sebring tradition during a difficult period in sports car racing.
The Four Points by Sheraton Chateau Elan hotel overlooking the famous Hairpin turn of the raceway will play host the Hall of Fame luncheon, which is open to the public. Two-time Sebring winner Derek Daly will serve as MC of the event. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advanced. For more information call Jan Shoop at (800) 626-7223, Ext 218.
Sebring International Raceway’s Hall of Fame and Race Museum is a nonprofit entity formed during Sebring’s 50th anniversary year of 2002 to honor drivers, officials, promoters, manufacturers and others who have played a key role in Sebring’s history. Induction ceremonies are held every other year.
The Sebring Hall of Fame committee is nearing completion of the Gallery of Legends building in the paddock, which will serve as a year-round facility available to car clubs and vintage racing organizations.