A race blog by Allen Moody
Allen Moody takes racing fans behind the scenes of the 63nd 12 Hours of Sebring, giving them an in-depth look at the events leading up to race day.
By Allen Moody
Last year there were two diverse groups of fans who followed the United SportsCar Championship. There were fans of the Grand-Am Series and there were fans of the American Le Mans Series. Both felt their series was superior, which is why they were fans of those particular series in the first place.
Now in its second year, the USCC has added a third group of fans and it is the fastest growing segment out there and that is simply fans of the United SportsCar Championship.
Fans of the ALMS, and Sebring in particular, were the most upset over news of the merger, but much of that had to do with the fact that we have been spoiled over the years with the likes of Audi and Peugeot competing in the LMP1 class on a frequent basis. From the perspective on an ALMS fan elsewhere, the absence of the two P1s probably didn’t make that much of a difference.
By Allen Moody
When Dr. Don Panoz founded the American Le Mans Series back in the late 1990s, he had one basic premise in mind. The series was intended “for the fans” and that premise has transferred over to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
“We started it and pioneered that approach back in the American Le Mans Series era and there was no question that was going to be something we carried forth into the TUDOR Championship era,” said President and COO of the International Motor Sports Association Scott Atherton.
Today is one day that is the extremely fan-friendly, with the always-popular autograph session taking place between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. at the team transporters.
After talking to Sebring’s John Dean last week for the article that’s on this page, and noting how much he was looking forward to getting behind the steering wheel, I thought it was a little bit odd that he didn’t partake in Tuesday’s test session. It was even more noticeable when he wasn’t on track Wednesday’s morning for the official practice.
He did make his first appearance in the afternoon practice session, where he set the best time with a lap of 2:31.191. The reason for his absence earlier was that he was battling a case of food poisoning and even made a visit to the medical center to get intravenous fluids when he was done.
“When I got in the car, the outside things just kind of fade away,” Dean said. “I did as many laps as I felt I could physically do, which wasn’t many. I don’t think I’ll change anything to the car. I just need to make the most of it.”
The gates are open and the cars are on the track. Lunch will take place from 11 a.m. to noon today and Sebring’s John Dean and his Sick Sideways team have qualifying between 4:20 and 4:50 p.m.
By Allen Moody
SEBRING INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY — Audi and Nissan are among the teams testing this week at Sebring International Raceway. The testing sessions, closed to the public, will continue through Friday.
Local team Tequila Patron ESM will be at the track on Tuesday and Wednesday testing their new HPD ARX-04b cars.