Sebring 12 hour

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Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Tuesday 28th August 2012
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Chaps

having thought about going for some time, I'm about to book up for the Sebring 12 hour in March 2013. Has anyone been? Any tips? I guess my main decision is how long to actually spend at the track, I guess I will probably sleep in the car or camp rather than get a hotel that's miles away. How has anyone else managed it? Is it possible to get there dead early on race day (I'll still be on UK time so no problem for me), watch the race, have a few beers, crash in the car and leave the next day? Any thoughts/tips/past experience greatly received.....

FredericRobinson

1,491 posts

165 months

Tuesday 28th August 2012
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I went 2 years ago, flew into Orlando on the Tuesday before, hired a Mustang, night in airport hotel, up early being on UK time, headed towards Sebring, stopped at a Walmart, bought a cheap tent, deck chair etc, got to the track about midday (circuit opens at 6am Wed), left on the Sunday, headed to the Atlantic coast for the day & night, flew back out of Orlando on the Monday.

It's a fantastic event, if I could I'd go every year. Not quite as good as Le Mans for me but plenty will disagree. Let me know if you want any more specific tips.

kris450

490 posts

127 months

Wednesday 29th August 2012
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A great event. Was there back in March. So much more open than Le Mans. You get access to almost every where and that included the start finish straight up to about 15 minutes before the start.

Flew in on the Thursday, hired a convertable camaro and drove straight there from Miami. Took a small tent with us. You will be out numbered on this front. Did get a couple of funny looks from the yo-cals as almost everyone else arrives in massive RV's, some of which even bring their own carpet for outside the rig !!

Spent the friday wandering around the pit garages and there are a few support races. Best thing compared to le Mans is the track is so much smaller and also fairly compact so its very easy to get to multiple viewing spots quickly. Think no more than a 20 minute walk to get from one side to the other.

Perhaps some of the eateries aren't the healthiest, but then you are only a stones throw from the 'good old' deep south. There are places to stock up on food/drinks within a 5 minute drive though so no problem there. The only other thing to prepare yourself for is the noise. Not the cars, but the fans. Every, and I mean EVERY, RV has a genny outside it running the AC and vast majorities of the locals have this fasination of just crusing the campsites whislt dancing on the back of the most outrageous pickups you've ever seen to seriously loud music. Can get a bit grating, but good fun just observing as well.

Toilets and showers were all fine. Think they've made a big push for this kind of stuff in recent years.

Drove back to Miami on sunday afternoon and spent a couple of days on the beach before coming home.

All in all, I can't recommend it highly enough.


Not often you can stand next to (at the time) last years winning Le Mans team and car with the head of the FIA on the grid 20 minutes before the start...(try that at Le Mans)






Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Wednesday 29th August 2012
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Kris and Frederic

Thanks for the heads up. I'm considering just crashing in the car, rather than bothering with a tiny tent, sounds like the noise means not a lot of sleep! Do they get funny about sleeping in the car whilst a bit merry? I could take a tent along but for one or two nights I'll probably just crash. I'm considering only getting there for the Friday, is it a pain to get into like Le Mans? My plan would be to fly into Orlando, shop and chill, then drive down on the Friday, watch the race and drive back to Orlando on the Sunday after sobering up! Are there many Brits at sebring? I guess not but the Americans are usually a friendly bunch. I' m still doing le mans as usual but the combination of Florida, a car race and spring break.......enough said!

FredericRobinson

1,491 posts

165 months

Wednesday 29th August 2012
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Sleeping in the car shouldn't be a problem, the are Sheriffs from various counties on the site, but they keep a low profile & just nick the odd kid for smoking weed. Sebring is in Highlands County btw, parts of the county are as much as 30 feet above sea level!
Getting into & out of the circuit was no bother any time we did it.
Another plus Sebring over Le Mans, wherever you camp you'll not be more than 5 mins walk from track-side, viewing is great, the spectator banks are very close to the track with no catch fencing.
There's a few Brits go over, most of those we met were ex pats though. The local are very friendly, some are very 'deep south' though. The atmosphere is great, and there's none of the thieving problems of Le Mans, our beer & supplies sat outside our tent in full view of hundreds walking past, some of the local put their deckchairs in their favourite viewing spot & leave them there day & night until they leave - try doing that at Le Mans.
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Great Dane

2,204 posts

99 months

Wednesday 29th August 2012
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There are some rumnours about Sebring next year which will make the race less attractive to travel to--- all I can say at the moment

Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Wednesday 29th August 2012
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Yes Le Mans is not the place to leave beer out! Right I'm going to get booking....looks like I'll be on my own, I've asked a few mates along but got the usual excuses - no money/working/wife won't let me go etc etc. Let me know if you' re going again next year, I'll buy you a beer (nasty Ametican one of course!). 5 mins from the track sounds fantastic, Le Mans us always a load of hiking for me as we camp at the Porsche curves. Can't wait to go to Sebring, it'll make the wait to Le Mans more bearable

Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Wednesday 29th August 2012
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Great Dane, that's an agonizing post...any chance of a hint?

Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Wednesday 29th August 2012
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Something to do with it not being part of the WEC....is my guess....meaning not such a good turnout of teams and cars?

robmlufc

5,051 posts

119 months

Thursday 30th August 2012
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All the rumours are that it wont be part of the WEC next year and that Austin will host the North America round.

http://www.dailysportscar.com/viewArticle.cfm?arti...

Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Thursday 30th August 2012
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...I've been to Austin before .....maybe that would be a good trip?

24lemons

2,173 posts

118 months

Thursday 30th August 2012
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Great Dane said:
There are some rumnours about Sebring next year which will make the race less attractive to travel to--- all I can say at the moment
Keep us posted, I'm planning a trip there next year. I'm assuming you mean it might not be as well attended by some of the bigger teams. I hope this doesn't prove to be the case.

Matt Harper

5,423 posts

134 months

Friday 31st August 2012
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Just to throw in my 2c worth on this subject.
I started going to Le Mans in the very early 80's and I emigrated to the USA in 2001. I used to be obsessed with Le Mans (like many, it became the 'high-spot' of the year for me) and continued to attend, despite the 8000 mile round trip each June.

That said, Sebring kind of took over for me. My first visit was as a tourist in the 1999 and it opened my eyes to an absolute reality. Sebring is SO much better from the fans side of the fence than Le Mans has been since around 1990. Before that time, both events had a similar vibe about them (though the atmosphere at Le Mans on race-day was always more intense).
I've been going to the 12 Hours of Sebring regularly (i.e.every year) since 2001. It's become increasingly difficult for me to justify pissing away airmiles going to Le Mans, when Sebring is such a superior experience in a number of ways.

This race is considered by most race teams to be an essential preparation for Le Mans. Suggesting that the 12 hours would in any way be deminished in stature by being outside of the WEC is a joke. The grid has always been full of world class entrants anyway - Sebring was only re-given WEC status last year, after several years outside of FIA's biased remit - it didn't make a scrap of difference.
The opportunity for fans to get close to the action is unsurpassed by anywhere in Europe and the party is boistrous and fun - but civilized, whereas Le Mans has become less so in my 30 year experience at La Sarthe.

(my friends and family mainly from the US, UK and Holland) establish 'camp' at Turn 10, Cunningham Corner, each and every year - some have been at Sebring each year since the mid-60's - and just have an absolute blast from 6.00am Weds through to tear-down and departure on the Sunday after the race. It is a truely wonderful, hilarious and action-packed 5 days.

I would be happy to share my experience and local knowledge if you are interested. I don't 'tent it' anymore - rather I rent a fairly spacious motor-coach and we take all of the gear we need to party with some enthusiasm - we build a fully stocked bar and eat well, alongside and in and amongst a big fraternity of fans who just live for this event. We feed the track marshalls on 'our' corner and most of the Corvette race team and several other competitors come over for a few beers prior to the race.
This is our current set-up - which we have to get in place before noon on the Wednesday ahead of the race weekend - being situated where we are, we know that we are going to get blocked-in, so if you take an RV and want to get on the fence (trackside) you have to realize that once you've positioned your vehicle,it's going to stay there until Sunday morning.



Not so with cars/trucks etc., just RV's that are close to the fence.

I've posted this video before, but if you are interested in this race, it will give you a real flavour of what it's all about...

http://www.svpweb.com/Sebring.html

If the WEC decides to go elsewhere next year then so be it - just be mindful of the fact that due to the US oil crisis in 1974, the race was canceled. That didn't stop around 6000 fans showing up anyway and partying as usual. The WEC needs Sebring a lot more than Sebring needs the WEC, if my experience is anything to go by.

Matt Harper

5,423 posts

134 months

Friday 31st August 2012
quotequote all
FredericRobinson said:
Sleeping in the car shouldn't be a problem, the are Sheriffs from various counties on the site, but they keep a low profile & just nick the odd kid for smoking weed. Sebring is in Highlands County btw, parts of the county are as much as 30 feet above sea level!
Getting into & out of the circuit was no bother any time we did it.
Another plus Sebring over Le Mans, wherever you camp you'll not be more than 5 mins walk from track-side, viewing is great, the spectator banks are very close to the track with no catch fencing.
There's a few Brits go over, most of those we met were ex pats though. The local are very friendly, some are very 'deep south' though. The atmosphere is great, and there's none of the thieving problems of Le Mans, our beer & supplies sat outside our tent in full view of hundreds walking past, some of the local put their deckchairs in their favourite viewing spot & leave them there day & night until they leave - try doing that at Le Mans.
Just re-read this and feel I should make a suggestion re sleeping in the car. If you are pissed, the keys cannot be on your person - and most certainly not in the ignition, if you plan to sleep in the car. The cops are actually quite high profile (both Highlands County Sheriffs Office and FL State Troopers). They have absolute ZERO tolerance when it comes to DUI, narcs and supply of alcohol to those under 21 yrs.
SR27 - the main highway from I-4, just SW of Orlando to Sebring, is patroled with some enthusiasm by FL Highway Patrol. They are mainly after those speeding through the towns on that road, but they are very vigilant around DUI too. Lots of people get pinched for DUI when heading out of the track on a beer/ice run to the local Wallyworld, so be mindful of that.
Be very wary if approached to buy or sell herb, as it's a 50/50 you are interacting with undercover plod.
Finally giving or selling alcohol to minors (under 21) gets you a free ride to the slammer. They conduct sting operations, using pretty college chicks every year, so be warned. additionally you are kind of putting yourself at risk by making your brewski's accessible to minors by leaving them unattended. You can theoretically be busted for supplying a minor, even if they nicked it from you, if you didn't take sufficient measures to secure it. Not wishing to be negative in a thread about such a positive experience, but some of the peculiarities of our laws might not be all that intuitive.

FredericRobinson

1,491 posts

165 months

Saturday 1st September 2012
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Obviously take much more notice of Matt then me when it come to local law enforcement, sorry for any duff info.

As for the WEC, personally I'd go to an ALMS Sebring 12 hours for the whole experience as well as the race over a WEC round anywhere else (except LM). The protype ALMS classes are weaker than when I went, and we had added Pew-go, but it's still a cracking championship, especially in GT

Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Saturday 1st September 2012
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Chaps

Thanks for the really useful pointers and local info. I kind of guessed crashing in the car could be an issue, it is in the UK as well. I just can't really justify an RV on my own, don't fancy going back to a hotel some distance away. So that leaves car or tent, it'll be easy to bring a tent with me, might look a little low rent compared to the effort you chaps put in! I'm bookish up next week.

Matt Harper

5,423 posts

134 months

Saturday 1st September 2012
quotequote all
FredericRobinson said:
Obviously take much more notice of Matt then me when it come to local law enforcement, sorry for any duff info.

As for the WEC, personally I'd go to an ALMS Sebring 12 hours for the whole experience as well as the race over a WEC round anywhere else (except LM). The protype ALMS classes are weaker than when I went, and we had added Pew-go, but it's still a cracking championship, especially in GT
No duff info in your posts, Frederic. I think you are right on the money and sum the event up just as it is. My only addition, (so not in disagreement with you) was that if you choose to sleep in your car (as thousands do) make sure that the keys are in the glovebox, not on your person or in the ignition. Reason being, you are technically 'in control' of the vehicle, awake or not and if you are hammered, that means they can bust you for DUI. The reason I mention this is because I slept in my Suburban one year and at one point had the engine running (for the a/c) and a cop tapped on the window and suggested I shut it off and put the keys in the glovebox. In chatting with him, he said that had I given him any attitude, he'd have arrested me for DUI - so just passing it along.
Summary - it's perfectly OK to doss in your car - but hide the keys away if you are ring-bolted.

samoan attorney

40 posts

119 months

Saturday 1st September 2012
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Go, Sebring 12 Hours is one those life changing experiences in motorsport. A bit like Le Mans or Bonneville. Heed all the advice that has been given, it is sound.

The Turn Ten movie is a very good guide and I wrote a piece for the programme this year which will give you more background.

http://www.doubledeclutch.com/?p=4039

http://www.doubledeclutch.com/?p=4067

If time and budget allows, the Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance is the Sunday before the race and is only a five or six hours drive North. It is a fantastic celebration of things automotive.

http://www.ameliaconcours.org/

It is a pity that the FIA WEC will most likely end up in Austin but do not be surprised to find that Audi and Toyota show up as a shake down for Le Mans. Somehow I am going to try and be there too.

Rutlandracing

Original Poster:

215 posts

99 months

Sunday 2nd September 2012
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Chaps

Once again thanks for the help and advice. I may go to Daytona before or after...spring break and all that! I actually fancy trying to get to see a NASCAR race on the same trip, never been to one.....any suggestions? I like to mix it up a bit so a trip of sun/beer/sebring/spring break/shopping/beer/NASCAR sounds just the ticket. No mouse, definitely no mouse, took the family this year, still scarred.... the horror of it all. On balance I'll use a tent, just found a union jack tent....look out for me!

David

Matt Harper

5,423 posts

134 months

Monday 3rd September 2012
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Bear in mind that Spring Break comes to Sebring too. As far as getting to see a NASCAR race in the sam timeframe as Sebring, you'd need to travel to either Vegas on March 10th or Bristol TN the day after the 12 Hours. Next year's 500, the season-opener at Daytona runs on Feb 24th.
You might also be interested in the NHRA Gatornats, top fuel racing, which is running at Gainsville FL from March 13th.
I'm keen to hear confirmation of the Grand Am/ALMS merger this Wednesday - and wonder if that means that in 2014 we'll see ALMS running at the Rolex 24. That would make things interesting...