2013 Sebring 12 Hours
21st January 2013, 11:42 at 11:42 am #132623
Good to see Audi are sending two R18 E-tron Quattros to Sebring despite it no longer being on the World Endurance Championship calendar. And with the ALMS merging into Grand-am, it’ll be the last run for LMP1 prototypes in the race.
March 16, 2013 will mark the end of an era as the world’s highest-caliber sports cars are running at the tradition-steeped Sebring 12 Hours for the last time. Before the Le Mans prototypes of the LMP1 class are no longer permitted at this event from 2014 on, Audi is coming full circle in Florida. In 1999, the first LMP sports car of the brand celebrated its debut on the former airfield – and now two prototypes emblazoned with the four rings will arguably be competing there for the last time.
“We’re in for a very emotional race weekend on which we’ll be taking the fans along on a journey into our past,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Sebring is where Audi’s sports car era that has been so successful began. We expect that with two current hybrid models we’ll be battling for overall victory at the 12-hour race for the last time this year. At the same time, on the fringes of the race, the fans can look forward to seeing four other race cars and several race drivers who made history at Sebring with Audi.”
In addition to a 2012-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro, an updated version of the prototype will be on the grid in Florida. Marcel Fässler/Oliver Jarvis/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/GB/F) and Lucas di Grassi/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (BR/DK/GB) will be driving the two hybrid race cars in the race. With six victories under his belt, Kristensen holds the record at this event.
In 13 runs at the sports car classic to date, Audi has clinched 22 podium positions including ten overall victories. Right on the debut, on March 20, 1999, three Audi drivers – Michele Alboreto/Dindo Capello/Stefan Johansson – were on the podium. Audi Sport Team Joest was the race team back then, as it is today.
As part of the program for the endurance race that has been held since 1952 Audi will be treating the fans to an exhibition in March reflecting the brand’s entire sports car era. An Audi R8 represents the successful period from 2000 to 2005 whereas the R10 TDI paved the way for diesel power from 2006 to 2008. The R15 TDI won there in 2009 on making its debut, and the winning car from last year – the R18 TDI – can be marveled at as well.
Former Audi factory drivers who were successful at Sebring will be on hand to sign autographs for fans as well as for pictures and interviews. This way, Audi wishes to thank the ardent sports car enthusiasts in the United States for having been loyal to the brand for so many years.21st January 2013, 21:17 at 9:17 pm #224172
The end of an era alright because with the new rules for next year, Sebring shall never be the same again :(21st January 2013, 21:39 at 9:39 pm #224173
Massive shame, Sebring (and Daytona 24hr for that matter) needs to be on the WEC calender. No ifs, no but.
Good on Audi for this though, and with the former Audi drivers arriving in force to sign autographs is classy. Good on them.21st January 2013, 23:43 at 11:43 pm #224174
Interesting to see di Grassi join Kristensen and McNish. I assume Capello has stepped down from prototypes.22nd January 2013, 11:58 at 11:58 am #224175
I will be watching ALMS intently this year and am disappointed by it demise; Jim France is in charge and Panoz doesnt seem that interested in Le Mans or the WEC now as per his quote “The WEC is basically an event of LMP1 cars and some people who like to travel,” ……….the heady days of the noughties with Audi R8s and Porsche LMP2s battling around the USA; and the US Corvettes and Flying Lizards coming over to La Sarthe is over as Mr France will internalise the whole bloody thing for US audiences only.
So cross i feel i should boycott the Daytona coverage this weekend; but i know i wont.22nd January 2013, 12:57 at 12:57 pm #224176
The 2014 merged series is NOT “internalised for US audiences”, at least not the GT side of things. GM was the main push behind keeping the GTE cars in the merged series, in order to race the Corvettes in the exact same specification both in the merged series and at Le Mans. LMP2 cars are allowed and DP cars are speeded up to match LMP2 pace, not the other way around, so LMP2 cars can race in the same specification at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring if someone wants to do so.22nd January 2013, 14:05 at 2:05 pm #224177
@victor_ro Unfortunately that is not how its going to work. The DP cars can not be sped up by much, they can only have Aero modifications to reduce drag/increase downforce. Other than that, the chassis/engine combo does not permit much higher speeds (partially to keep costs down). I know many guys that work on DP cars, several drivers too. They say that DPs do not drive like a prototype, but more like a GT car. Therefore, the LMP2 cars will have to be slowed to DP pace, not the other way around. Yes, the modifications should be easy to reverse to ACO Spec LMP2 (remove Air restrictor, minor bodywork modifications and most importantly, remove the weight penalty), but most teams that will run in P2 next year will not be running P2 in Le Mans.
This should create a very weird field, where the Premier Prototype class will be only a little faster than GTE. Not to mention LMPC (Formula Le Mans) being only a little faster than the GTE cars and we have a field that from first to the last GTE car should be covered by maybe 5-6 seconds (Sounds like a lot until you consider that there should be 40 or so cars stuffed in that time. And then you will have the GTC and possible GTX classes that are going to add to the insanity.
The only good that comes out of this is the fact that the 24 Hours of Daytona next year will Have GTE cars, and that makes me very happy. Other than that, this merger has ruined ALMS.
On a separate note, any F1 Fanatics going this year? I have been going for a long time now and would love to meet up with some F1F users. Anybody contemplating a trip down to Sebring, I have to say that this is an event you MUST see. Particularly since this is the last year where we will have a proper race. The atmosphere is incredible, the access to the cars and drivers is unbeatable (You can walk around the paddock without having to pay for some special passes, and you get to walk the grid and look at all the cars and talk to the drivers and take pictures with them. Just don’t expect to get many pictures with the Audi boys, they are ALWAYS surrounded as soon as the Grid opens). There aren’t any grandstands that you have to pay for separately (Except for the seats on top of the garage which are worth the price) so you have access to almost the whole track no matter what ticket you have. And all of this for a price that is honestly unbeatable. If you’ve paid for an F1 ticket, Sebring makes you realize how much you overpayed. One day tickets start at $70 dollars, and kids 12 and under are in free, so the event is really accessible on almost any budget.22nd January 2013, 18:24 at 6:24 pm #224178
@Polishboy808 The people on the technical side of things with ALMS and Grand-Am have said repeatedly since the announcement of the class structure that the top class will be running to the pace of the LMP2 cars. DP cars are 6-7 seconds slower nowadays at most tracks, but according to people in the know, about 3 seconds of that difference is down to just a single thing: tires. Better tires for the DPs, along with more downforce from the underside of the car (DPs aren’t even running a proper diffuser nowadays, the addition of that would increase downforce by a significant amount) and slightly more power would do a lot towards equalizing the cars.
As for the tires, Conquest Racing tested alongside the DP teams at Daytona back in November on DP tires instead of the Dunlops used in the ALMS and was only 0.5 seconds faster than the DPs (even though it was a short run without an ideal setup).22nd January 2013, 18:38 at 6:38 pm #224179
Thats the problem, Continental Tires is still a main sponsor, and the DP cars are expected run on Continentals. I assume this means that the P2 cars will also run on Continentals, while GTE cars will still have the ability to choose the tires themselves. So no matter what the NASCAR officials say, they will not be at the same speed as the P2 cars are today.22nd January 2013, 22:55 at 10:55 pm #224180
This American gt-prototype racing stuff seams very complicated to work out.4th February 2013, 9:41 at 9:41 am #224181
@Polishboy808 I’m planning a trip down to Sebring this year, especially since it’s the last proper year with the LMP1s running there, though it’s probably Audi sealing the last LMP1 win there unless Rebellion can pull off the upset. Current plan is to stay outside of town and drive in on Fri and Sat – do you think that’s feasible given I’ve read that most people camp there overnight?6th February 2013, 6:30 at 6:30 am #224182
Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke & new-signing Bruno Senna will compete in this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring for Aston Martin16th March 2013, 20:04 at 8:04 pm #224183
Does anyone know what happened to the DeltaWing? I came in after it had retired.16th March 2013, 23:24 at 11:24 pm #224184
Some nice sunset shots (and GT action) going on at the moment… this is filling the time before qualifying very nicely!
The engine blew on the Delta Wing, in case you haven’t found out already. Was in and out of the pits with engine trouble before it ground to a smoky halt.19th March 2013, 2:46 at 2:46 am #224185
Just got back from Sebring last night. It was my first ALMS race and my word, can F1 learn a lot from the ALMS about making the races more fan-friendly and accessible.
Mind you, I didn’t have any special credentials – just a regular Fri/Sat ticket like the majority of the race fans out there. Nonetheless, it was just an open atmosphere there, from the paddock that was open to everyone (giving you the unique opportunity to get run over by an Audi R18 getting towed) to the drivers and team members who were more than happy to answer questions, sign autographs and take pictures. None of that usual F1 arrogance and “leave me alone” attitude to be found; the teams were all super patient and accommodating to the fans.
Having only been to F1 races before this, I found the level of access to be truly unprecedented and a breath of fresh air. It really makes you feel engaged with – even appreciated by – the sport. It’s a pity the exclusive nature of F1 and Bernie’s show will mean that we’ll never see similar fan access in Formula 1.
But enough of my rambling. Here’s a neat shot I got trackside of McNish’s R18 whooshing its way to a second-place finish: http://i.imgur.com/DXb6L2V.jpg
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