Alec Ulmann

Alec Ulmann

16/6/1903 - 0/4/1986

Founder of the 12 hour race at Sebring and promoter of the first US Grand Prix in 1959.

Born in Russia in 1903, Alec Ulmann, graduated from M.I.T. with his M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering in 1928. In the 1930's he flew around Europe in his 120h.p. Kinner-Winkle Bird while working for Goodyear, Dewy Almy Chemical, and Aviquipo. In addition to his aeronautical work he was also an automotive historian and collector, and the founder of the 12 hours of Sebring sports car race.

Briggs Cunningham's Le Mans entries had been at the urging of the Collier brothers and Ulmann. The Colliers drove the second car while Ulmann served as team manager in 1950 and several subsequent years.

His dream of an American Grand Prix was realized in December, 1959 when 19 entries, including six American drivers, arrived in Florida for the final World Championship event of the season. Despite an exciting finish to the race and the Championship, the United States Grand Prix at Sebring was a financial disaster. The crowd was half the size of that year's 12 Hours of Sebring sports car race, and after distributing the $15,000 purse, including a huge $6,000 winner's share the event was a financial disaster. Checks bounced and Charles Moran and Briggs Cunningham stepped in to personally covered the shortfall.

Ulmann moved the race to the Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California in 1960 where Stirling Moss put on quite a show in his privately-entered Lotus by winning from the pole. Yet, while the driver's purse was once again enormous, the event was received no better than the previous year's and again made a loss. Moran and Cunningham reached into their pockets once again and ensured that the teams were taken care of.

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