Sebring announces 2010 inductees The Sebring Sports Car Racing Hall of Fame has announced its class of 2010. Former Sebring winning drivers Phil Walters, John Morton, Hurley Haywood and Derek Daly, former official and promoter Reginald S. Smith and tire manufacturer Michelin join the prestigious Hall of Fame next March.
The induction ceremony takes place on Friday, March 19th, the day before the 58th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, at the Four Points by Sheraton Chateau Elan Hotel overlooking the famous Hairpin Turn at Sebring International Raceway. Dedicated to preserving Sebring’s extensive sports car racing history, the Sebring Hall of Fame was formed in 2002 at the 50th Anniversary celebration of America’s premier sports car endurance race.
The late Phil Walters was a two-time Sebring winner. He co-drove with John Fitch in 1953, giving car owner Briggs Cunningham his most significant international victory in the first FIA World Championship sports car race ever held. Two years later, again driving for Cunningham, Walters drove a D-type Jaguar to victory with Mike Hawthorn. In addition to his stellar career in road racing, he raced under the name “Ted Tappett” in oval track midget racing, scoring dozens of victories.
Hurley Haywood has 28 career starts at Sebring, an all-time record. He won the Sebring 12 Hours twice in addition to three victories at Le Mans and five wins at Daytona. Haywood won the first IMSA-sanctioned Sebring race in 1973 driving a Porsche with Peter Gregg and Dave Helmick. His second Sebring victory came in 1981, driving with Al Holbert and Bruce Leven. Haywood also has Sebring class victories in 1972 and 1993.
Derek Daly won twice at Sebring driving for Nissan. In 1990 he co-drove to victory with Bob Earl and became the first person to drive both the first and second place car in the same year. Daly won again the following year, co-driving with Geoff and Gary Brabham. In 1992 he captured his third straight podium with a second-place finish. Daly also has an impressive record of open-wheel racing, with numerous starts in both Formula One and Indy Car racing.
John Morton drove in four different decades at Sebring, beginning in 1964 with the Shelby Cobra team. Morton won the Sebring 12 Hours in 1994, co-driving with Johnny O’Connell and Steve Millen. He earned class wins for Nissan in 1993 and 1995. Morton also finished second at Sebring in 1986 driving a Porsche 962. His stellar career also includes nine starts and a class win at Le Mans.
The late Reginald (“Reggie”) S. Smith served as an official at Sebring for three decades. From 1952-1972 he was race secretary, acting as second in command behind race founder Alec Ulmann. In 1973, Smith became the race promoter, and then assisted in the rebirth of Sebring during the mid-1970s.
Michelin-equipped cars have dominated Sebring since 1999, scoring 11 consecutive overall wins, the first tire manufacturer to accomplish such a streak. In addition, Michelin has earned 31 class victories at Sebring since 1999, recording 106 wins in the 109-race history of the American Le Mans Series. Michelin also has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for 12 consecutive years. In 2009, the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge for the American Le Mans Series was introduced at Sebring.
The Sebring Hall of Fame event is open to the public (seating is very limited and must be reserved in advance). Tickets are a $200 donation and can be purchased by calling Jan Shoop at 800-626-7223 x218. Legendary sports car racer and Sebring Hall of Fame member Derek Bell will serve as emcee for the ceremonies.
The Hall of Fame induction luncheon is held every other year. Following the 2010 event, the next induction will be held in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the Sebring 12 hour classic and the 100th anniversary of the City of Sebring in March 2012.
Previous Sebring Hall of Fame Inductees are drivers: Dan Gurney, Jim Hall, Mario Andretti, John Fitch, Phil Hill, Al Holbert, Roger Penske, Bob Holbert, Bobby Rahal, Juan Manuel Fangio, Derek Bell, Stirling Moss, Brian Redman, Carroll Shelby, Briggs Cunningham, Bob Akin and Hans Stuck; race officials John Bishop, Charles Earwood, Ford Heacock, Sr., and Dave Cowart; promoters Alec and Mary Ulmann, Charles Mendez, John Greenwood and Dr. Don Panoz; manufacturers Porsche, Ferrari and Audi.
The American Le Mans Series will open its 12th season with America’s greatest sports car race, the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida from March 17-20. The green flag will fall at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday, March 20 with live coverage on SPEED.