To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Chaparral’s stunning win in the 1965 12 Hours of Sebring, Jim Hall II, son of Chaparral creator Jim Hall, will climb behind the wheel of his father’s Chaparral 2 for a series of exhibition laps prior to this year’s running of the Florida endurance classic. The 1965 race was, of course, marked by torrential rains that created havoc for the circulating racecars, but despite his car’s open-cockpit configuration, Jim Hall and partner Hap Sharp prevailed over an international field of factory entries from Ford, Ferrari and Porsche, among others.
Hall II will run laps on Friday March 20 before the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, and again on Saturday March 21 prior to the 63rd running of the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours. The Chaparral 2 will be on display in the Gallery of Legends in the Paddock throughout the weekend.
“Driving the Chaparral at Sebring will be a real honor,” said Hall II, who has owned and operated Jim Hall Kart Racing School for 33 years in Oxnard, California. “Taking that car back to Sebring will be real special. Fifty years is a long time ago. That was an amazing race, and winning was very, very satisfying for the team. That race had a huge amount of rain. Dad brought in a consultant forecaster to tell him when it was going to hit. They ran flat-out until it hit and had a huge (seven-lap) lead, and then parked the car for a time because you couldn’t see anything. The water was so deep it came into the cockpit, so they were sitting in water for a fair amount of time. They felt very lucky to finish that race.”