If you think all central Florida has to offer is Walt Disney World than think again: nestled among the orange groves and cattle ranches so typical of central Florida sits Sebring International Raceway: America’s premier sports car racing facility.
Sebring International Raceway is world famous for the annual 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race, part of the prestigious American Le Mans Series. Every year on the third Saturday of March, the raceway hosts thousands of race fans from around the world to witness the historic 12-hour classic. All the legends have raced at Sebring – Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill and dozens of other international motor racing legends, driving race cars built by the world’s great manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, Audi, Ford, Maserati, Aston Martin and Nissan.
The Twelve Hours of Sebring is more than just a race. When not crowded around the track, race fans will be able to enjoy Sebring’s famous festive atmosphere, with plenty to see and do. Sebring International Raceway has added several conveniences for spectators, including new scoreboards, hot showers, shuttle service to a free parking area just outside the main entrance and a viewing grandstand on the famous Ulmann Straight.
Today, Sebring International Raceway is owned by the Panoz Motorsports Group, whose founder Dr. Don Panoz revived the famous Sebring circuit in 1999 by initiating a multi-million dollar enhancement program. The track is active 365 days a year with automotive testing, club events, racing schools, corporate events and other activities.
Three track layouts at Sebring International Raceway are available use: The 12 Hour Road Course length is 3.7 miles with 17 turns. Track surface has 2.4 miles of asphalt and 1.2 miles of concrete. This course is used for team testing, club racing and corporate events. The Club Course length is 1.7 miles. Other significant improvements in the evolution of Sebring International Raceway include:
1991 – 1995 (3.70 miles) – A major improvement program began with widening, resurfacing, and rerouting of the track. Turns 8, 9 and the carrousel were deleted, placing the Lesco building outside the circuit.
1996 – 1997 (3.6 miles) – Following the 95 race, the Fangio chicane was relocated closer to the Hairpin, which shortened the circuit slightly.
1997 (3.75 miles) – Following the 97 12 hour and before the October FIA event, the entrance and exit of the Ulmann straight were reconfigured, increasing the length of the circuit slightly. The Ulmann straight was also paved with asphalt. Turn 17 was returned to its original design after the FIA race.
1998 – present (3.70 miles) – After the 1998 12 hour and before the September event, the Hairpin was changed to an “S” configuration and portions of the circuit were repaved.
The Sebring International Raceway is conveniently located adjacent to the Sebring Regional Airport and is less than 100 miles from Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Sarasota. The raceway has its own hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton Chateau Elan, and is the home to two major racing schools. Sebring International Raceway is the busiest winter testing circuit in North America for Indy cars and sports cars.
The 12 Hours of Sebring is more than just a race. And that’s as it should be – because Sebring International Raceway is more than just your ordinary racetrack.