The FIA World Endurance Championship will start back up this weekend at the 1000 Miles of Sebring in Florida. After the release of the official list of 60 teams to take the start at the 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (15-16 June), the next big event in endurance racing is in the U.S., with competitors at the 1000 Miles of Sebring hitting the track for the free practice sessions.
The start at the 1000 Miles of Sebring will be given Friday at 16:00 local time, the sixth of eight rounds on the 2018-2019 Super Season calendar. This circuit in Florida hosted the very first FIA WEC round back in 2012, the 12 Hours of Sebring, which counted for both the American Le Mans Series (currently the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) and the FIA WEC.
In 2012, a total of 28 FIA WEC teams took the start, and in 2019 the number of entrants has increased to 34. That first year, Audi Sport Team Joest was the only outfit competing in the LMP1 class when TOYOTA GAZOO Racing confirmed its participation in the championship. Private teams Rebellion Racing, Pescarolo Team and Strakka Racing were already in play. The LMP2 class counted nine entries (this year it's seven), and Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche battled it out in LMGTE Pro, since joined by Ford, Chevy Corvette and BMW. Eleven cars will take the start in this class at the 1000 Miles of Sebring as opposed to five in 2012, and in LMGTE Am the number has gone from seven to nine.
The race was won by the #2 Audi R18 TDI driven by McNish-Kristensen-Capello. The top step on the LMP2 podium was clinched by Starworks Motorsports' #44 HPD-Honda and the LMGTE Pro class was won by AF Corse's #71 Ferrari F458. Lastly, first place in LMGTE Am went to Team Felbermayr-Proton's #88 Porsche 911 RSR shared by Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti.
The 2019 1000 Miles of Sebring is shaping up to be highly competitive with plenty of action on the track. Competitors are facing a track known to be bumpy and brutal, and the drivers seem super motivated to take on the challenge this year.
Today, two free practice sessions are on the agenda: the first at 15:00, the second at 19:45. Thursday, a final free practice will take place at 16:15 before the drivers go up against the clock during qualifying at 21:30 and 22:00 (all times are local).
For more info about the 1000 Miles of Sebring, go to the official FIA World Endurance Championship website.
Main Photo (Copyright - FIA WEC)
Gallery (Copyright - ACO/Archives): 2012 12 Hours of Sebring