March 13-16, Sebring International Raceway, Florida
At the heart of the world Endurance Championship’s ‘super-season’, book-ended by consecutive editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours race, long-distance racing aficionados can feast on ‘Super Sebring’, one of the most intense racing weekends to be found on the calendar.
The Floridian airfield venue returns to the WEC schedule for the first time since 2012 – and the revived 1000-mile race runs from 4pm until midnight on Friday March 15, while the traditional Sebring 12 Hours, a round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, follows it, beginning at midday on Saturday.
Sebring marks be the sixth of eight rounds on the 2018-19 WEC schedule. Sole surviving LMP1 entrant Toyota has won all previous races on the road, but lost first and second places at Silverstone last August when both its cars failed post-race scrutineering… after finishing four laps clear of closest rival Rebellion. Things are likely to be rather less one-sided in IMSA’s pace-setting DPi division, which last season produced seven winners from 10 races. Both series traditionally serve up intense competition in the GT classes; there are no fewer than eight manufacturers – Lexus, Acura, Mercedes, Audi, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and BMW – on IMSA’s GTD (GT3) entry list.
The meeting also features rounds of both the Michelin Pilot Challenge (two hours, for GT4 and TCR cars) and IMSA Prototype Challenge (1hr 45 min, for LMP3s).
Practice begins on Wednesday, March 16 and a four-day pass can be purchased in advance for $110 – £85 at the time of writing and exceptional value by the standards of the modern age.
HOW TO GET THERE The most practical option for Europeans is to book a direct return flight to Orlando – about £300 if purchased in good time and 80 miles away via I-4W and US-27S. ALSO GOING ON Early birds could take in the world dragbike nationals (March 9) at Orlando Speed World Dragway. DON’T MISS The Hall of Fame is an on-site museum, which each year displays a collection of cars from Sebring’s illustrious racing history.
More February/March Events
WORLD SUPERBIKE February 22, Phillip Island, Australia
RACE RETRO 2019 February 22-24, Stoneleigh Park, Warks. Historic race and rally show, promoted in conjunction with Motor Sport (preview p108). A fusion of cars, bikes, star guests and automobilia, embellished by a live rally stage (Saturday and Sunday only).
NASCAR February 24, Atlanta, USA
STAGE RALLY March 3, Donington Park, Leics
WRC RALLY MEXICO March 7-10
INDYCAR March 10, St Petersburg, USA
MOTOGP March 10, Losail, Qatar. The first of this season’s 19 MotoGP rounds – and opening bout in a compelling tussle between Honda duo Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo. And Valentino Rossi is still there, aged 40.
FORMULA 1 March 17, Melbourne, Australia. The dust seems barely to have settled on Lewis Hamilton’s fifth F1 title, but the moment is nigh for pursuit of number six. Will Ferrari’s Vettel/Leclerc partnership be able to stop him?
FORMULA E March 23, Sanya, China
BARC RACE MEETING March 23, Oulton Park, Cheshire. Car racing returns from its seasonal UK hibernation with a BARC clubbie featuring classic touring cars and more. The alternative? A concurrent BRSCC meeting at Brands Hatch, Kent.
INDYCAR March 24, Austin, USA
HSCC SEASON-OPENER March 30, Donington Park, Leicestershire. The Historic Sports Car Club’s year begins in the shadow of East Midlands Airport. Bill includes touring cars, Formula Ford (1600 & 2000), Guards Trophy sports/GTs, road sports and Classic F3.
MG CC March 30, Silverstone, Northants
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