Photographer’s Diary – The Eyes of March

Dindo Capello   [photo by Jack Webster]

It is an annual tradition, the 12 Hours of Sebring, which is held every year on the third Saturday of March. The sleepy little town of Sebring, Florida becomes the center of the sports car racing universe on that weekend, as it has every year since it’s beginnings as a 6 hour race on the airport circuit back in 1950, with the 12 hour race being held for the first time on the traditional March weekend in 1952.

Since then, the 12 Hour endurance contest on the bumpy and demanding airport circuit has been held every year, with the exception of 1974, when the race was cancelled due to the so called energy crisis (even with no race, about 10,000 race fans showed up anyway to party).

One of the things that makes Sebring special, in addition to the special characteristics of the track itself, is the people – the vast array of drivers who have participated in the event over the years. On this circuit we have seen races won by drivers such as John Fitch, Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, John Surtees, Bruce McLaren, Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert, Jacky Ickx, Jim Hall, Vic Elford, Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood, Brian Redman, Bob Akin, A.J. Foyt, Bob Wollek, Jochen Mass, Tom Kristensen and many, many more.

It is a place that makes legends, where today’s drivers race down the main straight on the very same track surface that saw the likes of Fangio, Moss, Hill and Fitch do battle many years ago. It is a place like no other in racing, which screams of history in every one of its turns, straights, the pits and paddock. It has always been one of my favorite places and the third Saturday of March every year still brings the promise of spring, a new season of racing and the opportunity to see new legends in the making.

A few years ago, I strolled the pit area during practice with my camera, concentrating on just the faces, and in particular the eyes, of the drivers as they prepared to do battle on the hallowed ground of Sebring. I only wish that I could have been around to see those early legends in their prime in similar circumstances. These images show the intensity, concentration and determination of some of the modern era drivers, which is timeless – I am sure these photos depict the same expressions that were present in the eyes of those other legends from earlier times. How I long for the ability to time travel.

Sebring, forever home to the eyes of March.

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