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Monday Media Notes from Sebring

Gates Open Wednesday for Four-Days of Events
Highlighted by the 68th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts

The Stage is Set
Sebring International Raceway‘s legendary 3.74-mile, 17-turn circuit is the stage for America‘s oldest sports car race. The 68th edition of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts runs on Saturday, Nov. 11, starting at 10:10 a.m. Gates open on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Tickets are available at sebringraceway.com or at the gate.

International Flavor
Drivers from 20 different countries will be competing in Sebring‘s 12-hour classic. Countries represented are: USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Switzerland, Poland, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Colombia, Finland, Belgium, Russia and Spain.

Four Races in One
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is actually four races in one. Four different classes compete in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series — Daytona Prototype International (DPi), Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD). Thirteen different manufacturers compete in IMSA‘s top series, including Acura, Cadillac, Mazda, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin, McLaren and Lamborghini.

From Sebring to New York in 12 Hours, with no Speeding Tickets
The average Sebring race winner will cover about 1,300 miles in 12 hours, or the driving distance from Sebring to New York, NY. Since the first 12-hour race in 1952, entrants have collectively raced over 2.8 million miles, which is about six round trips to the moon.

Steve McQueen the Most Successful Celebrity Driver at Sebring
It was 50 years ago that Mario Andretti (Grand Marshal for this year‘s race) drove a Ferrari to a dramatic win over the Porsche co-driven by actor Steve McQueen and Revlon Cosmetic heir Peter Revson. McQueen also drove in the 1962 Sebring race with John Colgate (of the Colgate toothpaste empire). Among the other celebrities that have raced at Sebring: James Brolin, Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Dick Smothers and Patrick Dempsey. None were more successful than McQueen whose best finish was second place in 1970.

Walter Cronkite: Journalist and Racer
Media from all over the world come to Sebring annually for the 12-hour classic, however, in 1959 one journalist did double-duty. Walter Cronkite announced the race for CBS radio and also competed in the race, driving a Lancia.

Endurance Usually Means More than Speed at Sebring
The car setting the fastest race lap has won at Sebring only 10 times in 67 races. Over the past 35 years, the eventual winner qualified in the top five 33 times, however, the pole winner has won just twice in the past 12 years. The last time a car won after qualifying outside the top 10 was in 1985, when A.J. Foyt and Bob Wollek started 13th on the grid. Qualifying for the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring takes place on Friday (Nov. 13).

Another Championship for Penske?
Acura Team Penske is the defending IMSA champion and will be going for yet another title at Sebring. The Penske name is also well known for success in both IndyCar and NASCAR racing. In 2008, Team Penske became the first racing organization ever to win the Daytona 500 and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the same year.

Sebring in the Fall
Only once in 67 previous years has the Sebring 12-hour race not been held in March (April 1 in 1967). Rescheduled from its traditional March date, this is the first time the legendary sports car endurance race will be run in the Fall. This year‘s Sebring event has the added significance of being the IMSA season finale.

Five Supporting Races on Friday
The day before the 12-hour classic includes five races — two Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America races, two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge races and the Alan Jay 120 Michelin Pilot Challenge. All three series will determine their season champions at Sebring.

Hall of Fame Inductees
Lyn St. James, Janet Guthrie, Dick Barbour Racing and Bruce McLaren are the 2020 inductees into the Sebring Hall of Fame. St. James and Guthrie were pioneer female drivers who opened opportunities for women in motorsports. Dick Barbour‘s racing team was a dominant force in endurance racing, winning Sebring three times. Bruce McLaren won at Sebring in both Formula One (1959) and the 12-hour race co-driving with Mario Andretti (1967).