Sebring Return Special in 2014

Sebring Int'l Raceway

Saturday's Twelve Hours of Sebring is a celebration of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, a result of the merger between the GRAND-AM Rolex and American Le Mans Series. (Photo: Courtesy of IMSA)

SEBRING, Fla. - The hallowed record book for Sebring's legendary 12-hour endurance race is being rejuvenated this week.  For the first time since 2003, the team that won the Rolex 24 at Daytona is also entered in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida ... with a chance at a season sweep that once was cherished by the world's premier sports car racers.

Saturday's Twelve Hours is a celebration of the new International Motor Sports Association-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, a result of the merger between the GRAND-AM Rolex and American Le Mans Series.

This partnership ensured that the two biggest sports car events in North America, at Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway, would once again run consecutively to open the season, under the same sanction with the same classes.  That drops a potentially historic achievement into the laps of Rolex 24 winners Christian Fittipaldi, Sebastien Bourdais and Joao Barbosa - co-drivers of the No. 5 Corvette DP from Action Express Racing, in the headlining Prototype class.

"Sebring, like Daytona, represents some of - if not the - most hallowed ground in North America for sports car racing," said IMSA President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Atherton.  "The fact that we have Daytona and Sebring back-to-back on the TUDOR Championship schedule for many means it's back to the way the good Lord always intended it to be."

Unlike Daytona and its 3.56-mile layout, Sebring challenges drivers with aged, rough-riding pavement for most of its 3.74-mile circuit.  Another factor: unlike Daytona International Speedway, Sebring's circuit has no lights.

"If we thought it was difficult in Daytona, Sebring is going to be three times as hard," Barbosa said.

Added Fittipaldi: "In order for us to repeat what we did at Daytona, we have to first finish the race.  That's our main goal.  Complete the 12 hours, go the distance and I think if all of that happens and we have a relatively trouble-free race, according to the lap times and how the car feels, I think our chances of being at the front again are very good.  There is only so much we can control during the race, though, so hopefully we just keep it clean and stay at the front just like we did at Daytona."

The TUDOR Championship features four classes racing simultaneously: Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona.  The Prototype class, which is a virtually prohibitive favorite to produce Saturday's overall winner, is an amalgam of the Rolex Series' Daytona Prototypes and the ALMS' P2 cars, plus the ALMS' revolutionary DeltaWing car.

The Twelve Hours is also the second round of a special competition within the TUDOR Championship schedule encompassing the four longest races, the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.  Daytona kicked off the four-race competition.  After Sebring, the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International (June 29) and the 10-hour season-ending Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta (Oct. 4) will follow. (Read More)

Motor Racing Network will have live coverage of Saturday's 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring beginning at 10 a.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.

Related Topics:

TUDOR United SportsCar

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