The Sebring Hall of Fame selection committee has elected to induct three drivers and a team that have contributed to the extraordinary history of the American circuit, and are also part of the heritage of Le Mans 24 Hours.
Three of the four icons have sixteen Le Mans wins between them, while a fourth, an international film star and gentleman driver, came second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979.
Hollywood idol Paul Newman (1925-2008) made a name for himself as a racing driver at the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours, when he won his category at the wheel of a Porsche 935. He pulled off the same feat years later at Daytona, aged 70! The other two drivers who enter the Hall of Fame, A.J. Foyt and Rinaldo “Dindo” Capello had shorter careers, but their record was no less impressive.
An absolute legend in the USA, Foyt won Le Mans in 1967 at his first attempt. He and Dan Gurney drove the Ford GT40 to victory just weeks after Foyt’s third triumph (of four) at the Indianapolis 500. A true all-rounder, Foyt also won the Daytona 500 in 1972, the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1983 and 1985, and ended his career by conquering the 12 Hours of Sebring the same year. He is to be Grand Marshal at Sebring this March.
Left to right (Copyright - Archives ACO): Victory of the Ford GT40 at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, Paul Newman at Le Mans in 1979 and Audi Team Joest’s one-two-three sweep at Le Mans in 2000.
Capello’s first win was at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2012 and he went on to triumph five times. One less than Tom Kristensen, who also won Le Mans nine times, including three times with Capello. However, Capello, who enjoyed three pole positions at Le Mans, never won the race with Joest Racing, the team that is to enter the Sebring Hall of Fame this year.
Founded by Reinhold Joest in 1978, the outfit’s first success at Le Mans came in 1984 with the Porsche 956, the beginning of a winning streak that lasted four years. In 2000, Joest Racing (as Audi Sport North America) gave Audi its first victory in endurance at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Again, it was the first of many - nine in fact! If you add Audi Sport North America’s three Le Mans 24 Hours wins in 2007, 2008 and 2010, Joest Racing has orchestrated fifteen wins in the classic French race.
The official induction ceremony takes place on 16 March, the eve of the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Photo (Michel Jamin - ACO): Dindo Capello, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third time in 2008, is to enter the Sebring Hall of Fame in March.