Sebring International Raceway
|Location||Highlands County, east of Sebring, Florida, USA|
|Time zone||UTC -5 (UTC-4 DST)|
|Capacity||open seating without capacity limitation|
|Owner||IMSA Holdings, LLC|
|Operator||Sebring International Raceway, LLC|
|Major events||IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
12 Hours of Sebring
|GP Road Course (6th variation) (1999–present)|
|Length||3.74 mi (6.02 km)|
|Lap record||1:43.886 (Marcel Fässler, Audi Sport Team Joest, 2013, LMP1)|
|Club Road Course|
|Length||1.703 mi (2.74 km)|
|5th variation (1991–1998)|
|Length||3.722 mi (5.99 km)|
|Lap record||1:49.425 (Stefan Johansson, Yannick Dalmas, Ferrari, 1997, LMP1)|
|4th variation (1987–1990)|
|Length||4.109 mi (6.612 km)|
|Lap record||1:55.767 (Derek Daly, Nissan, 1990, IMSA)|
|3rd variation (1983–1986)|
|Length||4.86 mi (7.821 km)|
|Lap record||2:11.416 (Ken Madren, March, 1986, IMSA)|
|2nd variation (1967–1982)|
|Length||5.195 mi (8.36 km)|
|Lap record||2:27.067 (Bobby Rahal, March, 1982, IMSA)|
|1st variation (1952–1966)|
|Length||5.192 mi (8.356 km)|
|Lap record||2:54.6 (Dan Gurney, Ford, 1966, WSC)|
|Original circuit (1950–1951)|
|Length||3.3 mi (5.31 km)|
Sebring (pronounced "sea bring") Raceway is one of the oldest continuously operating race tracks in the United States, its first race being run in 1950. Sebring is one of the classic race tracks in North American sports car racing, and plays host to the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The raceway occupies a portion of Sebring Regional Airport, an active airport for private and commercial traffic that was originally built as Hendricks Army Airfield, a World War II training base for the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Sebring raceway occupies the site of Hendricks Army Airfield, a United States Army Air Forces training base for Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress pilots in operation from 1941 to 1946. After the war, aeronautical engineer Alec Ulmann was seeking sites for converting military aircraft to civilian use when he discovered potential in Hendricks' runways to stage a sports car endurance race similar to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Sebring's first race was held on New Year's Eve of 1950, attracting thirty race cars from across North America. The Sam Collier 6 Hour Memorial race was won by Frits Koster and Ralph Deshon in a Crosley Hot Shot that had been driven to the track by Victor Sharpe.
The first 12 Hours of Sebring was held on March 15, 1952, shortly growing into a major international race. In 1959, the track hosted the U.S.' first Formula One race (the successor to historic European Grand Prix motor racing), held as that year's installment of the historic United States Grand Prix competition. However poor attendance and high costs relocated the next U.S. Grand Prix to Riverside International Raceway in Southern California.
For much of Sebring's history, the track followed a 5.2 miles (8.4 km) layout. After a disastrous 1966 12 Hours where 5 people were killed, the track was widened and lengthened 50 yards for the 1967 race with the removal of the Webster Turn between the hairpin and the top of the track and replacement with the faster Green Park Chicane. This was closer to the hairpin and allowed a flat-out run through a very fast corner to the top of the track and the runway. Another dangerous section was the Warehouse straight, where the organizers installed a chicane to move the track away from the warehouses and buildings after a crash where a Porsche went into one of the warehouses and into a crowd.[when?]
In 1983 the circuit was changed to allow simultaneous use of the track and one of the runways. In 1987 more changes allowed use of another runway. Further changes in 1991 accommodated expansion of the airport's facilities, allowing the entire track to be used without interfering with normal airport operations and bringing it close to its current configuration. In 1997, the hairpin was removed due to a lack of run-off, and replaced with what became known as the "safety pin". Gendebien Bend was also re-profiled to slow the cars' entry to the Ullman straight.
The track is currently owned by IMSA Holdings, LLC through its subsidiary Sebring International Raceway, LLC via its purchase of the Panoz MSG in September 2012. It is currently leased by the Sebring International Raceway, LLC, which acquired the facility from Andy Evans in 1997.
The track is often recognized for its famous, high-speed "Turn 17", a long, bumpy, fast right hander that can make or break a car's speed down the front straight. The corner can fit up to 3 cars wide.
Skip Barber Racing School holds numerous programs at the facility, including a scholarship opportunity for young racers.
Sebring International Raceway consist of three tracks: the Full Circuit, the Short Circuit, and the Club Circuit. The course of the track itself is 3.74 miles (6.02 km) long. It is a seventeen-turn road course with long straights, several high-speed corners, and very technical slower corners. Many of the turns and points along the track are named for the early teams and drivers. There is very little elevation change around the track and little camber on the surface, providing a challenging track for drivers, especially when it rains.
Sebring is renowned for its rough surface. The course still runs on old sections of World War II-era landing fields that were constructed of concrete sections with large seams. The transitions between sections are quite rough and often, sparks fly from the undercarriages of the cars as they traverse them. Much of the track has intentionally been left with its original concrete runway surface. The track surface has 3.04 miles (4.89 km) of asphalt and 0.7 miles (1.1 km) of concrete. Mario Andretti, a 3-time 12 Hours winner, said that one of the hardest parts about the original Sebring track was "finding the track to begin with." There had been many accounts of drivers retiring due to accidents at night, quite simply because they got lost on the runway sections and couldn't find the track again. Some drivers got lost even during the day, mostly because the track was poorly marked down with white lines and cones.
Sebring is most notable for hosting the 12 Hours of Sebring, sanctioned by the FIA and IMSA, as part of many major endurance racing series, including the World Sportscar Championship, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, ALMS, and now, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This race is the second of four races in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.
The track also hosts the Legends of Motorsport and Historic Sportscar Racing series, and is the winter home of the Skip Barber Racing School. Many IndyCar, sports prototype, and Grand Touring teams use Sebring for winter testing due to the warm climate.
Sebring in pop culture
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Sebring Raceway is featured in the video games Pitstop II, iRacing, The Crew, Forza Motorsport 2, Forza Motorsport 3, Forza Motorsport 4, Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Motorsport 6, Total Immersion Racing, and Sports Car GT. There are also end-user created versions for GTR2, GTR Evolution, GT Legends, rFactor, Grand Prix Legends and NASCAR Racing 2003 Season. In board gaming, Sebring was also featured in the first expansion for the Formula D board game by Asmodee games. People have also recreated this track using the new course maker in Gran Turismo 6
- "Record lap of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro - AudiWorld". audiworld.com. March 15, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "Alec Ulmann Is Dead at 82; Pioneer in Sports Car Racing". The New York Times. April 26, 1986. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "History of Formula 1 - The United States Grand Prix (USGP)". ddavid.com. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- 12 Hours of Sebring
- "The TACH Report: USRRC Announces '98 Sched, Panoz Buys Sebring From Andy Evans, GM Has New Longer Range Battery For EVs.". theautochannel.com. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- About Sebring Raceway
- "Sebring International Raceway - iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations". iracing.com. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- http:// www.forzamotorsport.net/en-us/games/fm4/tracks/sebring_international_raceway
- "Forza Motorsport 5 - Tracks - Sebring International Raceway". forzamotorsport.net. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "Forza Motorsport 6 - Tracks - Sebring International Raceway". forzamotorsport.net. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- http:// www.gamespot.com/articles/total-immersion-racing-update/1100-2874055/
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sebring International Raceway.|
- Official website
- Map and circuit history at RacingCircuits.info
- A drivers description of the various track configurations
- Trackpedia guide to Sebring
- Audio walk-through of the track, for use with games