DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – IMSA, the FIA World Endurance Championship and Sebring Int’l Raceway have announced several key changes for the 2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race weekend.
Presented jointly by IMSA and the WEC, the March 13-16 event will feature more racing, more cars and a heightened experience for fans. The sixth round of the WEC Super Season will become the 1000 Miles of Sebring (or eight hours, whichever comes first), starting in the afternoon on March 15 and finishing at night.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will retain its traditional place as the final race on the schedule.
The revised lineup comes following a joint meeting between IMSA, WEC and Sebring officials that was held on March 18.
“From the beginning, we knew things would be adjusted to make this work for the teams, for the fans, and for the integrity of the 67th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring,” said track general manager Wayne Estes. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of a lot of work and cooperation among all parties to produce the best possible event for the world’s sports car racing enthusiasts.”
In off-track adjustments, the WEC will make use of a separate, newly installed pit lane adjacent to the Ulmann Straight, allowing for a smoother, faster transition between on-track sessions for the different championships.
In addition, the WEC paddock will run concurrently to the IMSA paddock – which remains in its usual location – towards Turn 16 and, as it is at all WEC races, will be open to fans.
The revised schedule will be more comfortable for spectators, corner workers, media, teams and commercial partners, and will provide even more entertainment for the fans.
“The decisions that came from our discussions with the WEC, FIA and track management promise to make the 2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts weekend an absolute must for sports car racing fans from across North America and around the world,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the initial announcement of this combined event, but we always believed we could all find solutions to the many questions and challenges that needed to be addressed to host two world-class events on one weekend, and that’s exactly what we did.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we know this spirit of cooperation will continue as we complete the process of planning what promises to be an unprecedented showcase of sports car endurance racing for both the fans and the competitors in each championship.”
Next year’s event will be the first visit to the challenging 3.74-mile track for many of the WEC’s 36 full-season entrants to the Super Season. As such, an official WEC test day will be held in the run up to the race weekend, with a full schedule and more details being released in due course.
It will mark the only time that the LMP1 prototypes, including the two hybrid-powered Toyotas, will race on North American soil in 2019.
“Everyone went in to the meeting with a willingness to find a solution which worked well for all of us, knowing that some flexibility would be required on both sides, and the key points such as the schedule and the pitlane and paddock were agreed very quickly,” said Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship. “We would like to sincerely thank Scott Atherton and all his team at IMSA, Wayne Estes and his staff at Sebring Raceway for the co-operation, flexibility and positive attitude they displayed throughout the recent weekend.
“We received a very warm welcome, had many meetings while in Florida, and a lot of the logistical bumps have already been smoothed out ready for the WEC’s visit next year.”
“I am delighted to see that Scott and Gérard, together with their respective teams from the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and the WEC, have been able to find very good solutions to the many challenges associated with staging this event,” added Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. “We will take a great deal of satisfaction in being part of this premier racing weekend in the United States next March.”