Last year, the way we enjoy racing changed forever. We witnessed the 64th annual 12 Hours of Sebring live at Sebring International Speedway in Sebring, Fla. and marveled when the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) fuses the best of each style into the thrilling WeatherTech Championship Series.
If you’re like me, nothing gets your blood pumping faster than watching these hot racing cars speed down the track in all their glory. Who will make it to the finish line, and will there be any crashes? Unfortunately like many of you, I can’t be there live, so the next best thing is to catch the action as it happens on TV. Which is your favorite car? Who is your favorite driver? For us, we’ve already filled up our fridge with our favorite beers and put in orders for buckets of buffalo chicken wings with nacho cheese dipping sauce and sliders on the side.
Get ready to tune in from March 15-18, starting with Saturday’s WeatherTech Championship race on Fox Sports. That’s all we ask if you’re anything like us. If this pulse-pounding endurance race doesn’t make a certified race fan of you, then you just aren’t a motorsports fan. Starting during and the day and finishing with the setting Florida sun, the 12 Hours of Sebring is seen as a training and proving ground for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, in no small part because cars from these internationally celebrated manufacturers endure a merciless twin assault from the brutal seasonal heat and the kind of famously rough track that adds an extra element of challenge to so many IMSA events every year.
Only this classic showdown brings together these acclaimed automakers who have reigned over individual prestigious professional racing leagues for decades under one banner to vie for undisputed mile-for-mile racing supremacy:
- Aston Martin
Only here will the seemingly distant automotive words of Acura and Aston Martin clash as Ford faces Ferrari and Lexus duels Lamborghini. It’s a battle for distance where anything could measure the margin between victory and defeat. This is where Dan Gurney’s Shelby American Ford GT40 Mk II appeared destined for dominance in 1966 until his engine seized in the climactic stretch, forcing him to push his car across the line behind only Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby. Here, two Chevrolet Corvette C6.Rs took the full measure of a formidable Aston Martin DBR9 in an unforgettable GT1 class debut for both vehicles before the DBR9 brought home Aston Martin’s first class victory in 49 years to cut short a three-year Corvette winning streak in GT1 begun by the previous-generation C5R. This event has brought the best out of such circuit gods as Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, and Arie Luyendyk.
Watching an IMSA race such as the 12 Hours of Sebring is an entirely different world from tuning in for other motorsport institutions. This is no mere dash to the finish line of the final lap. It’s a test of wills to maintain a blistering pace that completes the greatest overall distance over an unthinkable 12 consecutive hours behind the wheel and jockeying for position at breakneck speeds. IMSA action is all of that and so much more, the world’s most definitive tests of driver and vehicle to crown the finest, most complete competitors and cars on Earth. For some of these automakers, this is the one place the world can watch their cars tested under conditions no other racing title can put in their path.
Planning to cheer on the exhilarating spectacle life? Lucky you. Gates open at Sebring International Speedway for the 65th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring on March 15 for all preparations leading up to the race and stay open 24 hours a day through Saturday. Check with your local cable or satellite provider to learn how you can watch the complete race live this weekend on Fox, FS1, and FS2. IMSA Radio will also have the live call from start to finish or you can connect to live streaming coverage online via RadioLeMans.com, IMSA.com, and the IMSA Mobile App.