Sebring’s Historian

The start of the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2008. [Photos by Jack Webster]

By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

Ken Breslauer. [photo by Eddie LePine]

Ken Breslauer. [photo by Eddie LePine]

Ken Breslauer’s official title at Sebring International Raceway is Director of Media and Communications. But he is much more than that. He is a walking encyclopedia of Sebring history, facts, figures and stories. He is also listed in the media guide as the track historian. If you ever want to know anything about Sebring and its history, Ken likely has the answer.

Every year, when we go to Sebring for the 12 Hours, we look forward to getting our new copy of the outstanding Sebring Media Guide, which Ken puts together. In addition, he also produces the outstanding official program for the race, which is, by far, the finest race program put out for a major race anywhere in the world.

The cover of the 2016 Sebring Media Guide.

The cover of the 2016 Sebring Media Guide.

Ken attended his first 12 Hours of Sebring in 1975 and began working at the track in 1985. He has seen a lot of changes at Sebring over the years. As Ken puts it: “When I first came here, there were all these abandoned military airplanes all over the place. It was literally a big salvage yard for airplanes. A lot of the remnants of old Hendricks Field (a B-17 bomber base in World War II) were still here. It’s been a huge change since I have been here so you can imagine what it must seem like for someone who was here in the 1950’s. Sebring has evolved into a permanent circuit with great facilities and is busy all year with testing in addition to the 12 Hour race in March.”

The 2016 race marks Ken’s 41st race at the 12 Hours and over that time he has certainly seen a lot of changes, and a lot of exciting races. His favorite? “I think my favorite race was 1983 when I was here as a spectator. It was a wild race, a big upset, a crazy race overall. 84 cars started the race, there were 25 lead changes among 8 different cars and the underdog Porsche 934 won the race overall.”

Among our favorite things about Ken’s annual Media Guide is his list of interesting facts, figures and trivia about the race. The following gems were gleaned from the guide.

  •  3,654 cars have competed in the 12 Hours of Sebring, covering 2.6 million miles.
  •  Sebring in 2015 marked the first overall win for a Chevrolet powered prototype in 50 years.
  •  120 drivers have won the 12 Hours of Sebring. 40 of them were from the US.
  •  Johnny O’Connell is the all-time leading winner at Sebring with eight victories (overall and class combined).
  •  3,706 drivers have competed at Sebring representing 46 countries.
  •  Tom Kristensen is the all-time overall winning driver with 6 victories. He is being inducted in the Sebring Hall of Fame in 2016.
  •  Alex Job Racing has a record 10 class victories at Sebring. Alex is also being inducted in the Sebring Hall of Fame in 2016.
  •  Steve McQueen, James Brolin, Gene Hackman, Patrick Dempsey, David Carradine, Craig T. Nelson, Dick Smothers, Jackie Cooper, Lorenzo Lamas and Paul Newman are among the many entertainers who have driven at Sebring.
  •  Among those who have driven at Sebring that you might not have expected: Journalist Walter Cronkite, jazz musician Allen Eager, astronaut Pete Conrad, pro football quarterback Dan Pastorini, stock car legends Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner and Olympian Bruce Jenner
  •  The 1966 winning Ford led just one lap, the only car in Sebring history to win by taking the lead on the final lap.
The old water tower at Sebring in 1995. [Photo by Jack Webster]

The old water tower at Sebring in 1995. [Photo by Jack Webster]

These are just some of the highlights of Ken’s outstanding Media Guide. Perhaps our favorite one, and one we can hope for again this year is this: Only 6 times in 63 years has rain affected the 12 Hour race.

If you go the Sebring for the 12 Hours this year and see Ken Breslauer (they occasionally let him out of the press room), we bet you cannot ask him anything about Sebring that he cannot answer.

Thank you Ken for all you have done and continue to do for the greatest sports car race in the US. We’ll see you next week.



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