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Triumph Sebring Patch, 1965


At the end of 1963, Standard Triumph decided to prepare brand new race cars for the 1964 season. The new model, the Triumph 'GT' Spitfire, was chosen for certain road events, including Sebring and Le Mans, as well as for the Alpine and Tour De France rallies. For the 1964 Le Mans 24 hours, three Spitfires, registration numbers ADU 1B, ADU 2B and ADU 3B were entered. 1B and 3B crashed out. The third car, run by David Hobbs and Robbie Slotemaker, finished 21st.

The Spitfires were fitted with special aluminium bodies and featured fiberglass fastback hardtops. The cars were powered by the Spitfire's 1147cc engine tuned with an eight port head, dual Webers and a prototype type GT6 gearbox. They were also fitted with specially designed alloy wheels.

For 1965, new lightweight chassis were produced, and although the competition cars wore the same registration numbers as the 1964 Le Mans entries, they were completely new cars.

Sebring 1965 - Kaz Kastner

Kaz Kastner times  the #67 car in the heat of the afternoon

ADU 4B came on the scene for the 1965 season. At Sebring, under the management of Kaz Kastner, Duane Feuerhelm shared a factory drive in the new car (#67, seen in the image below) with Ed Barker.

The conditions at Sebring were incredible. Temperatures of over 130 degrees in the afternoon were followed by a tropical rainstorm soon after dusk - the rain brought some interesting moments as the Spitfires passed Ferraris, Daytona Cobras and even Jim Hall's Chapparal. Duane Feuerhelm was behind the wheel at the finish of the race with 163 laps completed.

Sebring 1965 - pit stop for #67

Duane Feuerhelm's Spitfire during a pitstop at Sebring, 1965

ADU 4B finished a very respectable second in the combined class 7/8 and  second in GT Division 1, behind the Midget of Andrew Hedges and Roger Mac, and one lap ahead of Bob Tullius and Charles Gates in another factory Spitfire (#66). The Peter Bolton and Mike Rothschild GT Spitfire (#65) rolled on turn 1 of lap 5 with Bolton at the wheel. As reguar factory driver Rothschild did not get to drive #65, he joined Duane and Ed Barker in the #67 car and shared the honors.

Sebring 1965 - the trophies

Sebring '65 - the GT Spitfire team's trophies

Kaz Kastner's crew for Sebring included Bob Avery. The team of mechanics, headed up by Ray Henderson, were all from the Triumph factory in England.

After Sebring, the Spitfires went to the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours. Duane's car, ADU 4B, driven by Simo Lampinen and Jean-Jacques Thuner, came a memorable 1st in class  and 13th overall.

ADU 4B today

Having been campaigned for a number of years by Thuner after Le Mans, the Spitfire was still alive and well in the USA in 2001. It had previously appeared for sale with a price tag of $70,000.

ADU 4B - fully restored

ADU 4B, fully restored,  and wearing its Sebring #67 at Laguna Seca

Datsun Racing Team