The FIA World Endurance Championship drivers are excited Sebring is back on the calendar. The circuit - a former Army airfield and one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the U.S. - is known to be extremely challenging for drivers both during the day and at night.
Of the 99 drivers participating in the 1000 Miles of Sebring, sixth round of the 2018-2019 World Endurance Championship Super Season, the majority seem extremely pleased to be competing at the legendary circuit. Nicolas Lapierre, driver of Signatech Alpine Matmut's #36 Alpine A470-Gibson in the LMP2 class, explains: "European tracks are quite smooth and slippery, with plenty of safety measures. Here, it's very different. If you make a mistake, you're in the wall. That's just not the case in Europe, so it's hard to push it to the limit."
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is getting ready to take the start at Sebring for the first time. The Japanese team took part in five days of testing sessions (two in conjunction with the other championship competitors) to get to know the circuit and gain experience on the tricky, bumpy track. Yesterday, the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid driven by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso clocked the fastest time at qualifying (1:40.124 the average of two drivers' times). Kamui Kobayashi, driver of the #7 Toyota: "It is very nice to be in Sebring. We have done a couple of tests and as we know this track is quite a bumpy track, but it is one that I enjoy. To be here you feel the history and it is a great track, but hard for the driver. I even had padding around my body for the bumps, so for everyone it is a big challenge to race here in Sebring.”
Upon its inception in 2012, the first race in the FIA World Endurance Championship was the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. The start at the 1000 Miles of Sebring will be given today at 16:00 local time. The maximum duration of the round is measured in hours and the finish of the race will take place at night. American endurance racing fans are in for a treat this weekend: after the 1000 Miles of Sebring, the 2019 12 Hours of Sebring will take place tomorrow as the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
PHOTO (Copyright - Marius Hecker/AdrenalMedia/FIA WEC)