Look on the Bright (or Dark) Side
SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2020) — Some of the best things at Sebring happen when the sun goes down, and for the first time in decades that will be the case when the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts runs Nov. 11-14, 2020.
More than five hours of the 2020 12-Hour Classic will be contested at night. While more darkness is an added challenge to the field of approximately 40 teams who normally race for approximately three hours after sunset at Sebring in March, it means added excitement for fans. The glow of headlights from cars racing and jockeying for position at nearly 180 mph and a lack of track lighting make an already amazing spectacle even more dramatic at night.
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will end at 10:40 p.m. Sunset on Nov. 14 will be at 5:34 p.m., two hours and four minutes earlier than the originally scheduled date of March 21. Unlike many modern racetracks — including Sebring‘s sister facility and the world‘s first and most modern motorsports stadium, Daytona International Speedway, home of the Rolex 24 at Daytona — Sebring International Raceway does not have lights. Only a few temporary light structures positioned for the darkest areas of the track provide help in navigating virtually dark areas of the 3.74-mile circuit.
Racing at Sebring in direct sunlight given drivers of all skill levels and and experience a tremendous challenge given the notoriously bumpy surface. The seams and cracks of the more than 70-year-old concrete that was laid in the 1940s when the facility was build as a WW II combat training base know as Hendricks Field provide one of the greatest tests in motorsports. The challenge is even greater at night when the world‘s best sports car drivers navigate the difficult track with the light of headlamps or simply by rhythm or feel.
Gates will open for the 2020 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at 6 a.m. Nov. 11. — 43 minutes before sunrise. Everything good happens in the dark at Sebring.