12 Hours of Sebring

Highway to Help # 50

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Copyright © 2016 Fifty Plus Racing

12 Hours of Sebring: Finished 7th in the Prototype Class

The 63rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by “Fresh from Florida” took place on Saturday, March 21, 2015. The Fifty Plus Racing team ran a successful race finishing 7th in its class.

The team included:

  • Byron DeFoor
  • Jim Pace
  • Dorsey Schroeder
  • David Hinton

The Track

The race takes place on the track that was converted in 1950 from a former Army Air Corps training base. The original course connected two former runways with narrow two-lane service roads including hairpin turns—and in 1966, the race track experienced it's first tragic wreck. On the approach to one of those hairpin turns, Canadian driver, Bob McLean, rolled his car and struck a utility pole. His car exploded killing McLean instantly.

Team After the Race

Louis Galanos relates the details of the accident in an article published on March 2, 2012 by Sportscar Digest,

"At 2:40 p.m. the #18 Canadian Comstock Ford GT40 driven by Jean Oulette pulled into their pit for fuel, brake pads and a driver change. When it left the pit Bob McLean was at the wheel. Just minutes later on the short straight just before the Hairpin Turn the rear brakes locked up causing the car to slide off the pavement.

It hit a ditch and begins a barrel roll before making a hard contact with a telephone pole on the passenger side of the right hand drive car. That is where one of the fuel cells was located. The fully loaded car burst into flames then went end over end before landing on its top. The ruptured gas tank had spilt most of its contents and the car was a mass of flames."

This one foreshadowed the continuation of the day of tragedy when in the same race, an encounter between Mario Andretti and Don Webster resulted in a crash that killed four spectators. (The spectators who were killed had been watching the race from a restricted area where they were not supposed to be.) Following this tragedy, the course was redesigned to assure greater safety for both spectators and drivers.

Bill Mclean's GT40P at the 12 Hours of Sebring 1966. Photo: Bill Stow

Bill Mclean's GT40P at the 12 Hours of Sebring 1966. Photo: Bill Stow

Nevertheless, high-speed racing in a dangerous sport, as the Fifty Plus Racing team well knows. At the Roar before the 24 this year, driver Byron DeFoor's #50 Riley caught air following a blown tire. Thanks to high safety standards maintained by the team, DeFoor walk away shaken and bruised, but alive and ready to race another day.

Despite this near tragedy, the Fifty Plus Racing team remained committed to their goal to "endure for a cure" to Alzheimer's Disease. Kevin Doran and his crew at Doran Racing rebuilt the #50 Riley in record time. It was not only ready for the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, it showed a strong finish, eighth in its class.

Race Day

With four solid practice sessions under their belts, Fifty Plus Racing's four drivers were ready for the start of the 63rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Team leader Jim Pace set the fastest lap in the very first practice session on Thursday with a time of 1:59.127 for the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course. Dorsey Schroeder ran close to Pace clocking a 1:59.741 on the car's next-to-last lap in the second practice session on Thursday afternoon.

50+ Sequence of Crash #10

"We didn't go out for qualifying because we changed our practice engine for our race engine and we didn't get the change completed and the car through tech before qualifying," Pace said Friday evening.

"The Sebring Twelve-Hour is one of my favorite races because it really emphasizes endurance," Pace said.

"Known around the world as a circuit that is very demanding on both the car and the driver, Sebring requires a team effort all day and into the night. It is very different than the Daytona 24 due to the bumpiness of the surface and the increased intensity of traffic.

"Sebring requires constant awareness of traffic, whether faster or slower, and to deal with it efficiently."

The car was 13th in the Prototype class in both the third and fourth practice sessions Thursday night and Friday morning, respectively, and all four drivers got acclimated to the car and the track. Along with Pace and Schroeder, the car was also driven by car owner Byron DeFoor and David Hinton. By the end of race day however, the Fifty Plus Racing Team demonstrated the quality of their commitment with a strong 7th place finish in the Prototype class!

The Fifty Plus Racing Foundation raises awareness and money for Alzheimer's Disease. The Foundation sponsors the Fifty Plus Racing Team to encourage others to join the race against Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative illness that attacks brain cells and results in a loss of memory, thinking, language skills, and behavioral changes. Currently, over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and millions more are faced with the financial and emotional challenges of caring for an ailing loved one. As the number of those diagnosed continues to increase, it is imperative that we spread awareness, support caregivers, and find cures for this debilitating illness.

The Fifty Plus Racing Foundation invites you to follow the Fifty Plus Racing team this season as it "endures for a cure" in the race against Alzheimer's Disease.

Help us win the race against Alzheimer's Disease

In The Pit